Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, juveniles
Chinook salmon fry, also known as par or smolts, are the young stage of the chinook salmon species. Measuring 2-4 inches in length, they have a slender body, silver or olive-green coloration, and dark par spots. Initially reliant on their yolk sac for nutrition, they transition to feeding on small aquatic invertebrates and zooplankton. These fry possess a remarkable olfactory sense, imprinting the scent of their natal stream. During smoltification, they embark on a downstream journey through rivers, estuaries, and into the open ocean. Chinook salmon fry play a vital ecological role, contributing to the intricate web of life in both freshwater and marine ecosystems. They serve as a crucial food source for various predators, including birds, other fish, and marine mammals.
The fry's life cycle exemplifies the intricacies and interconnections of nature's systems.