previous scientific names
The Arctic char or Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) is a cold-water fish in the family Salmonidae, native to alpine lakes and arctic and subarctic coastal waters. Its distribution is Circumpolar North. It spawns in freshwater and populations can be lacustrine, riverine, or anadromous, where they return from the ocean to their fresh water birth rivers to spawn. No other freshwater fish is found as far north; it is, for instance, the only fish species in Lake Hazen on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic. It is one of the rarest fish species in Britain and Ireland, found mainly in deep, cold, glacial lakes, and is at risk from acidification. In other parts of its range, such as the Nordic countries, it is much more common, and is fished extensively. In Siberia, it is known as golets (Russian: голец) and it has been introduced in lakes where it sometimes threatens less hardy endemic species, such as the small-mouth char and the long-finned char in Elgygytgyn Lake.
The Arctic char is closely related to both salmon and lake trout, and has many characteristics of both. The fish is highly variable in colour, depending on the time of year and the environmental conditions of the lake where it lives. The appearance of Arctic char differs between populations. The dorsal side of the Arctic char is dark in its colour while the ventral varies from red, yellow, and white.
Arctic char has a distinct size dimorphism, dwarf and giant. Dwarf Arctic char weigh between 0.2 and 2.3 kg (7 oz and 5 lb 1 oz) and average a length of 8 cm (3 in), while giant Arctic char weigh between 2.3 and 4.5 kg (5 lb 1 oz and 9 lb 15 oz) and average 40 cm (16 in) in length. Individual fish can weigh 9 kg (20 lb) or more with record-sized fish having been taken by anglers in Northern Canada, where it is known as iqaluk or tariungmiutaq in Inuktitut. Generally, whole market-sized fish are between 1 and 2.5 kg (2 lb 3 oz and 5 lb 8 oz). Male and female Arctic char are the same size.
The flesh colour can range from a bright red to a pale pink.
The Arctic char was initially scientifically described in the salmon genus Salmo as Salmo alpinus by Carl Linnaeus in the 1758 edition of Systema Naturae, which is the work that established the system of binomial nomenclature for animals. Meanwhile, he described Salmo salvelinus and Salmo umbla, which were later considered as synonyms of S. alpinus. John Richardson (1836) separated them into a subgenus Salmo (Salvelinus), which now is treated as a full genus. The genus name Salvelinus is from German "Saibling" – little salmon.
The English name is thought to derive from Old Irish ceara/cera meaning "[blood] red", referring to its pink-red underside. This would also connect with its Welsh name torgoch, "red belly".
Subspecies in North America
In North America, three subspecies of Salvelinus alpinus have been recognized. "S. a. erythrinus" is native to almost all of Canada's northern coast. This subspecies is nearly always anadromous. S. a. oquassa, known as the blueback trout or Sunapee trout, is native to eastern Quebec and northern New England, although it has been extirpated from most of its eastern United States range. S. a. oquassa is never anadromous. Dwarf Arctic char has been classified as S. a. taranetzi. These scientific names are not generally accepted, however, as the names S. a. erythrinus and S. a. taranetzi usually refer to subspecies that are endemic to Siberia only.
Arctic char is also found in Lake Pingualuit in the Ungava Peninsula, Quebec, a lake situated in an impact crater formed roughly 1.4 million years ago. Since the last glaciation, changing water levels are believed to have connected the lake with glacial runoff and surrounding streams and rivers, allowing char to swim upstream into the lake. Arctic char is the only fish found in the lake, and signs of fish cannibalism have been found.
Arctic char is notable for exhibiting numerous, seemingly distinct morphological variants or 'morphs' throughout the range of the species. Consequently, Arctic char have been referred to as the 'most variable vertebrate on Earth'. These morphs are often sympatric within lakes or rivers. Morphs often vary significantly in size, shape, and colour. Morphs often demonstrate differences in migratory behaviour, being resident or anadromous fish, and in feeding behaviour and niche placement. Morphs often interbreed, but they can also be reproductively isolated and represent genetically distinct populations, which have been cited as examples of incipient speciation.
In Svalbard, Norway, Lake Linne´vatn on Spitsbergen has dwarf, 'normal', and normal-sized anadromous fish, and Lake Ellasjøen on Bear Island has a dwarf, small littoral and large pelagic morph. In 2004, a previously unknown species closely related to Arctic char were discovered swimming near the bottom of Lake Tinn in Norway at a depth of 430m; The light-colored, translucent fish is up to 15 cm long and lacks a swim bladder.
In Sweden three morphs are usually recognised: storröding, större fjällröding and mindre fjällröding. Wherever these types occur together in the same lake storröding is the largest. Contrary to what the name may suggest when större fjällröding and mindre fjällröding are found together mindre fjällröding tend to be the largest morph. Even within storröding morphs can be found; for example the Sommen charr of Lake Sommen tend to grow faster and reach sexual maturity later the charr from Lake Vättern.
The sparctic char is the intrageneric hybrid between Arctic char and brook trout. Sparctic char grows faster than either parent species, are stronger and healthier, and are thus popular for sports fisheries. Some of these hybrids are fertile while others are sterile. Sparctic char have been found locally in Sweden, for example in the Piteälven and Skellefteälven Rivers in the northern part of the country, though are believed to be relatively uncommon.
There has been no formal naming of the hybrid between Arctic char and lake trout as few studies have been done in regard to this hybridization.
Arctic chars found north of 65°N latitude are generally anadromous. Anadromous Arctic chars spend their juvenile years in fresh water, and once mature, migrate annually to the marine environment. The first migration of Arctic char has been found to occur between four and 13 years of age. When in the marine environment, Arctic chars inhabit coastal and intertidal areas. They migrate back to frozen lakes at the end of summer.
Generally, Arctic char inhabits shallow waters, rarely swimming deeper than 3 m (10 ft) depth. An exception to this applies to landlocked Arctic chars, which often swim much deeper in the summer in order to occupy colder waters. Dwarf Arctic chars are more common in landlocked populations as a result of scarce resources (immense competition).
Arctic char exhibits a Circumpolar North distribution. There is no other species of fish found at a higher latitude. Arctic char is native to Arctic and subarctic coasts and lakes of high elevations. In general, it has been observed in the Canadian Arctic, Greenland, Iceland, Scandinavia, Siberia, and Alaska.
The main predators of Arctic char include sea otters (Enhyrda lutris), polar bears (Ursus maritimus), humans (Homo sapiens), ferox trout (Salmo ferox), and other fish species. Dwarf Arctic chars are also often cannibalistically consumed by giant Arctic chars. As ferox trout are an apex predator, Arctic char is thus a key species throughout many lakes in its range.
Arctic char often demonstrates crypsis when defending from their predators. It will appear darker in its freshwater environments and lighter in its marine environments. Additionally, some juveniles have highly sensitive recognition of predator odours and respond to chemical cues from different fish predators.
During late spring and summer, Arctic char feeds on insects found on the water's surface, salmon eggs, snails and other smaller crustaceans found on the lake bottom, and smaller fish up to a third of its size. During the autumn and winter months, it feeds on zooplankton and freshwater shrimps that are suspended in the lake, and also occasionally on smaller fish.
The marine diet of Arctic char consists mostly of a copepod species (Calanis finmarchicus) and krill (Thysanoëssa). Lake-dwelling Arctic chars feed mostly on insects and zoobenthos. Some giant Arctic chars have been recorded as cannibals of their young as well as dwarf Arctic chars.
Spawning occurs over rocky shoals in lakes with heavy wave action and in slower gravel-bottom pools in rivers. As with most salmonids, vast differences in colouration and body shape occur between sexually mature males and females. Males develop hooked jaws known as kypes and take on a brilliant red colour. Females remain fairly silver. Males are polygamous in sexual nature each season. They will circumambulate the females by rubbing up against them slightly. As the female lays her eggs, the male fertilizes her, which takes place during the daylight hours. Most males set up and guard territories and often spawn with several females. The female constructs the nest, or redd.
A female anadromous char usually deposits from 3000 to 5000 eggs. Arctic chars do not die after spawning like Pacific salmon, and often spawn several times throughout their lives, typically every second or third year. Young Arctic chars emerge from the gravel in spring and stay in the river from 5 to 7 months, or until they are about 15–20 cm (6–8 in) in length. Sexual maturity in Arctic char ranges from 4 to 10 years old and 50–60 cm (20–24 in) in length.
Time to hatching varies, but usually occurs between 2 and 3 months, with the longest have been observed at 5 months. Arctic char ranges between 40 and 70 mg (0.0014–0.0025 oz) upon hatching. Hatchlings are immediately independent of parents at hatching, and stay at the bottom of the gravel till they are 15–18 cm (6–7 in) in length. Growth rates of Arctic char vary greatly.
Underwater video of char at Llyn Padarn, Wales
Numerous commercial fisheries take place in various river systems throughout the Canadian Arctic, with the majority in Nunavut, such as the areas of Cumberland Sound and Cambridge Bay. There are also exploratory fisheries to examine potential for future commercial char fishing areas.
Arctic char fisheries are important for the Inuit and in the subsistence economy of many circumpolar people. The fisheries are concentrated near communities and are predominately conducted using gill nets. In 2004, it was estimated that the subsistence harvest in the Cambridge Bay area was about 50% the size of the commercial harvest.
Research aimed at determining the suitability of Arctic char as a cultured species has been going on since the late 1970s. The Canadian government's Freshwater Institute of Fisheries and Oceans Canada at Winnipeg, Manitoba, and the Huntsman Marine Science Centre of New Brunswick, pioneered the early efforts in Canada. Arctic char is also farmed in Iceland, Estonia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, West Virginia, and Ireland.
Arctic char was first investigated because they expected it to have low optimum temperature requirements and would grow well at the cold water temperatures present in numerous areas of Canada. It could be an alternate species to rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), and could provide producers with a different niche in the marketplace. The initial research efforts concentrated on identifying the cultural needs and performance characteristics of the species. The Freshwater Institute was responsible for distributing small numbers of eggs to producers in Canada; these producers in return helped determine the suitability of Arctic char in a commercial setting. Commercial Arctic char breeding stocks have now been developed largely from these sources.
Arctic char eggs are hatched within specialized hatchery facilities. The young fish remain in the hatchery until they reach about 100 g (3.5 oz), and are then transferred to tanks each capable of holding 5000 fish. Arctic char first exhibits a rapid growth spurt during this phase, reaching its market weight of 1–2.5 kg (2.2–5.5 lb) within a year. They are fed dried pellets consisting mainly of fish meal and fish oil from forage fish that are too small and bony for human consumption. Carotenoids are also added, giving Arctic char its characteristic coral colouration.
The land-based Arctic char farming systems are among the most environmentally responsible fish farming designs. They remove particulate matter and effluent prior to releasing water from the fish tanks into the environment. Sludge removed from the water is used to fertilize terrestrial crops. Leftovers from fish processing may be incorporated into dog food or delivered to local compost facilities.
In 2006, Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program added farmed Arctic char as an environmentally sustainable Best Choice for consumers, stating: "Arctic char use only a moderate amount of marine resources for feed” and that they “are farmed in land-based, closed systems that minimize the risk of escape into the wild."
Commercial Arctic char typically weigh between 1–2.5 kg (2.2–5.5 lb). The flesh is fine-flaked and medium firm. The colour is between light pink and deep red, and the taste is like something between trout and salmon.
- Freyhof, J. & Kottelat, M. (2008). "Salvelinus alpinus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008: e.T19877A9102572. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T19877A9102572.en.
- "Synonyms of Salvelinus alpinus (Linnaeus, 1758)". Fishbase. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
- "Cambridge Bay Arctic Char" (PDF). Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 December 2011.
- Finstad, Anders Gravbrøt; Ugedal, Ola; Berg, Ole Kristian (2006). "Growing large in a low grade environment: size dependent foraging gain and niche shifts to cannibalism in Arctic char". Oikos. 112 (1): 73–82. doi:10.1111/j.0030-1299.2006.13990.x. ISSN 1600-0706.
- Morton, William Markham (1965). "The Taxonomic Significance of the Kype in American Salmonids". Copeia. 1965 (1): 14–19. doi:10.2307/1441233. ISSN 0045-8511. JSTOR 1441233.
- Ortenburger, A I; Jansen, M E; Whyte, S K (1996). "Nonsurgical videolaparoscopy for determination of reproductive status of the Arctic charr". The Canadian Veterinary Journal. 37 (2): 96–100. ISSN 0008-5286. PMC 1576613. PMID 8640656.
- Government of Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Statistical Services (19 December 2016). "Arctic Char". www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
- "Arctic Charr, Salvelinus alpinus". www.arctic.uoguelph.ca. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
- "Canadian Farmed Arctic Char". Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
- alpinus, Salmo in Catalog of Fishes (2016)
- Salvelinus in Catalog of Fishes (2016)
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2016). "Salvelinus alpinus" in FishBase. December 2016 version.
- firstname.lastname@example.org. "eDIL - Irish Language Dictionary". edil.qub.ac.uk.
- Skeat, Walter W. (15 February 2013). An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language. Courier Corporation. ISBN 9780486317656 – via Google Books.
- Various. Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary (part 1 of 4: A-D). Library of Alexandria. ISBN 9781465562883 – via Google Books.
- Weekley, Ernest (5 March 2013). An Etymological Dictionary of Modern English. Courier Corporation. ISBN 9780486122878 – via Google Books.
- Behnke, Robert J. (2002). "Arctic Char Salvelinus alpinus". Trout and Salmon of North America. Tomelleri, Joseph R. (illustrator). The Free Press. pp. 303–311. ISBN 0-7432-2220-2.
- McPhail, J. D. (1 May 1961). "A Systematic Study of the Salvelinus alpinus Complex in North America". Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada. 18 (5): 793–816. doi:10.1139/f61-053. ISSN 0015-296X.
- E. A. Keller; R. H. Blodgett & J. J. Clague (2010). The Catastrophic Earth, Natural Disasters. Pearson Custom Publishing. ISBN 9780536878137.
- Malmquist, H. J., Snorrason, S. S., Skulason, S., Jonsson, B., Sandlund, O. T., & Jonasson, P. M. (1992). Diet differentiation in polymorphic Arctic charr in Thingvallavatn, Iceland. Journal of Animal Ecology, 21-35.
- Knudsen, Rune; Klemetsen, Anders; Amundsen, Per-Arne; Hermansen, Bjørn (2006). "Incipient speciation through niche expansion: an example from the Arctic charr in a subarctic lake". Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 273 (1599): 2291–2298. doi:10.1098/rspb.2006.3582. PMC 1636095. PMID 16928630.
- Klemetsen, Anders (2006). "The Most Variable Vertebrate on Earth". Journal of Ichthyology. 273 (10): 781–791. doi:10.1134/S0032945213100044. S2CID 17713440.
- Alekseyev, S.S.; Gordeeva, N.V.; Matveev, A.N.; Samusenok, V.P.; Vokin, A.I.; Yur'rev, A.L. (2014). "Three Sympatric forms of Arctic Charr Salvelinus alpinus Complex (Salmoniformes, Salmonidae) from Lake Kamkanda, Northern Transbaikalia". Journal of Ichthyology. 54 (6): 384–408. doi:10.1134/S0032945214040018. S2CID 21325242.
- O'Malley, Kathleen G.; Vaux, Felix; Black, Andrew N. (2019). "Characterizing neutral and adaptive genomic differentiation in a changing climate: The most northerly freshwater fish as a model". Ecology and Evolution. 9 (4): 2004–2017. doi:10.1002/ece3.4891. PMC 6392408. PMID 30847088.
- http://luvs.hi.is/arctic_charr_development_evolution_and_genetics University of Iceland, Institute of Life and Environmental Sciences: Arctic charr development evolution and genetics (Accessed August 2016)
- Mathismoen, Ole (11 May 2005). "Ny fisk oppdaget" [New Fish Discovered]. Aftenposten. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
- Kullander, Sven O.; Delling, Bo (2012). "Salvelinus – rödingar". Nationalnyckeln till Sveriges flora och fauna. Strålfeniga fiskar. Actinopterygii (in Swedish). Uppsala: ArtDatabanken, SLU. pp. 184–186.
- Melin, Daniel & Rydberg, Daniel (2009). Sommenröding: En kartläggning av rödingens lekområden 2006 & 2008 (PDF) (Report). Medelande (in Swedish). Länstyrensen i Jönköpings Län. pp. 1–49. Retrieved 20 April 2019.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Hammar, J. (2014). "Natural resilience in Arctic charr Salvelinus alpinus: life history, spatial and dietary alterations along gradients of interspecific interactions". Fish Biology. 85 (1): 81–118. doi:10.1111/jfb.12321. PMID 24754706.
- "NOBANIS - European Network on Invasive Species". www.nobanis.org. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
- Freyhof, J. & Kottelat (1 January 2008). "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Salvelinus alpinus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
- Rikardsen, Audun H.; Diserud, Ola H.; Elliott, J. Malcolm; Dempson, J. Brian; Sturlaugsson, Johannes; Jensen, Arne J. (2007). "The marine temperature and depth preferences of Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) and sea trout (Salmo trutta), as recorded by data storage tags". Fisheries Oceanography. 16 (5): 436–447. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2419.2007.00445.x. ISSN 1365-2419.
- Maneksha, S.; Harry, T. V. (1975). "Lorazepam in sexual disorders". The British Journal of Clinical Practice. 29 (7): 175–176. ISSN 0007-0947. PMID 29.
- Dutil, J.-D. (1986). "Energetic Constraints and Spawning Interval in the Anadromous Arctic Charr (Salvelinus alpinus)". Copeia. 1986 (4): 945–955. doi:10.2307/1445291. ISSN 0045-8511. JSTOR 1445291.
- Salisbury, Sarah J.; Booker, Connor; McCracken, Gregory R.; Knight, Tom; Keefe, Donald; Perry, Robert; Ruzzante, Daniel E. (3 October 2017). "Genetic divergence among and within Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) populations inhabiting landlocked and sea-accessible sites in Labrador, Canada". Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 75 (8): 1256–1269. doi:10.1139/cjfas-2017-0163.
- Corrocher, R.; Tedesco, F.; Rabusin, P.; De Sandre, G. (1975). "Effect of human erythrocyte stromata on complement activation". British Journal of Haematology. 29 (2): 235–241. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2141.1975.tb01817.x. ISSN 0007-1048. PMID 33. S2CID 45491647.
- Vilhunen, Sampsa; Hirvonen, Heikki (1 November 2003). "Innate antipredator responses of Arctic charr ( Salvelinus alpinus ) depend on predator species and their diet". Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 55 (1): 1–10. doi:10.1007/s00265-003-0670-8. ISSN 0340-5443. S2CID 25354866.
- Andrews, C. W.; Lear, E. (13 April 2011). "The Biology of Arctic Char (Salvelinus alpinus L.) in Northern Labrador". Journal of the Fisheries Board of Canada. 13 (6): 843–860. doi:10.1139/f56-047.
- Grainger, E. H. (13 April 2011). "On the Age, Growth, Migration, Reproductive Potential and Feeding Habits of the Arctic Char (Salvelinus alpinus) of Frobisher Bay, Baffin Island". Journal of the Fisheries Board of Canada. 10 (6): 326–370. doi:10.1139/f53-023.
- Egeland, Torvald B.; Rudolfsen, Geir; Nordeide, Jarle T.; Folstad, Ivar (2016). "Status Specific Tailoring of Sperm Behavior in an External Fertilizer". Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 4. doi:10.3389/fevo.2016.00135. ISSN 2296-701X.
- Gulseth, Odd A.; Nilssen, Kjell J. (1 January 2001). "Life-history Traits of Charr, Salvelinus alpinus, from a High Arctic Watercourse on Svalbard". Arctic. 54 (1): 1–11. doi:10.14430/arctic758. ISSN 1923-1245.
- Lemieux, Hélène; François, Nathalie R. Le; Blier, Pierre U. (2003). "The early ontogeny of digestive and metabolic enzyme activities in two commercial strains of arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus L.)". Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Comparative Experimental Biology. 299A (2): 151–160. doi:10.1002/jez.a.10298. ISSN 1552-499X. PMID 12975803.
- Pavlov, D. A.; Osinov, A. G. (1 February 2008). "Reproduction and development in the dwarf form of Arctic charr Salvelinus alpinus from Lake Davatchan, Transbaikalia". Journal of Ichthyology. 48 (1): 96–113. doi:10.1134/S0032945208010098. ISSN 1555-6425. S2CID 23339502.
- Government of Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (15 March 2011). "Arctic Char". www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
- "Seafood Watch - Official Site of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Sustainable Seafood Program". www.seafoodwatch.org. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Salvelinus alpinus.|