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Arctic Char

Arctic Char
Arctic Char

Salvelinus alpinus

Status

Native to both Newfoundland and Labrador

Habitat

May be both anadromous (spending their lives in the sea and entering rivers to spawn) or landlocked. On the Island of Newfoundland, they may be found in most deep lakes. They are very slow growing, with the largest char occurring in Northern Labrador.

Range

Found primarily in Canada’s territories and Atlantic Provinces, with the most northern distribution of any North American freshwater fish.

Food

Anadromous char may migrate several miles to the sea to feed during the summer, but they do not range far from their home rivers, unlike salmon, which may migrate hundreds of miles. Young char feed on bottom invertebrates, while older and larger char feed on other fish, like landlocked smelt.

Appearance

A char's colour is highly variable, but generally green to brown above and lighter below, with pink to red spots on the sides; landlocked char are silver overall.

Breeding Biology

Females form spawning redds (gravel dig outs) in shallow water (1.0-4.5 m depth) from October to December, although this will vary according to latitude and size. Males may fertilize eggs from more than one female. Preferred spawning temperature is approximately 4.0oC.

 

 
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