Salmon are unique creatures. They live in the sea but reproduce in fresh water. But this report is about The salmon life cycle. An amazing thing! Do you know anything about the Salmon life cycle? I do. The salmon life cycle occurs in a chain of connected environments. Stream, estuary, near shore, and ocean.
The life cycle begins with the female salmon digging out a shallow redd, which is a nest, in the gravel on the river bottom. In the nest she lays her orange pea sized eggs. Salmon eggs need cool, clean, oxygenated water. Trees and plants provide shade along the river side. That keeps the eggs cool. Redds are fragile and can easily be destroyed by people or animals crossing the shallow river or dirt being washed or knocked into the water and smothering the eggs.
The small larval fish, about one inch in length are called Alevin,and still have a yolk sac attached. The alevin live on this lunch bag for a month or so before they begin to hunt. The lunchbag contains protein,sugar, minerals, and vitamins. Gulls, Dippers, Sculpins, and trout all feed on eggs and young alevin.
The baby salmon fry begin to move in schools and feed in the river. They feed mainly on zoo plankton until they grow big enough to eat aquatic insects and even larger. Salmon need cool water, bugs to eat, woody debris to hide under, and sediment-free gravel in which to spawn. Loss of riparian habitat along streams, rivers, estuaries, and bays is one of the most serious dangers to the wild salmon's survival.
The salmon will feed and grow in the sea for the next one to eight years. They will remain in the sea until they reach full maturity. Orca whales, sea lions, and seals are the natural predators that the salmon will meet in the ocean. Humans also like to eat salmon, so commercial fisherman are another.They feed on small fish, shrimp, and squid.
The salmon Smolt Stage. By the time the salmon reach the estuaries, they have silver sides, bright bluish green backs, and are called smolt.Trying to stay out of the mouths of predators. Orca whales, sea lions and seals, are some of the predators the salmon will meet in the ocean. They feed on shrimp, small fish, and squid.
The salmon adult stage. The salmon start to swim upstream toward the spawning grounds. They do not feed but derive energy from stored fats. On their journey upstream the salmon face fishermen, fish ladders, waterfalls, wildcats, bears, and eagles.
The salmon spawner stage. The salmon that make it back to their home streams to spawn have beaten amazing odds. On average, out of every 1,000 eggs laid one survives to return and spawn. When the salmon reach the spawning ground reach the spawning grounds where they were born, males and females spawn together. The female digs her redd in the river bottom. They derive energy from stored fats. On the way upstream, the salmon face fisherman, fish ladders, waterfalls, and more predators in addition to the challenges they faced on their way downstream earlier.
The salmonid life cycle, involves adults maturing in the ocean, migrating back to their home streams, and spawning embryos incubating, fry emerging, juveniles, and growing. Salmon need habitat that includes, cool, clean water appropriate water depth, quantity, and flow velocities upland and riparian.
So that is my report on the salmon life cycle. From egg to habitat. I hope you enjoyed.