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Oncorhynchus mykiss  (Walbaum, 1792)

Rainbow trout
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Image of Oncorhynchus mykiss (Rainbow trout)
Oncorhynchus mykiss
Female picture by McDowall, R.M.


Australia country information

Common names: Bow, Rainbow, Rainbow trout
Occurrence: introduced
Salinity: freshwater
Abundance: common (usually seen) | Ref: Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993
Importance: commercial | Ref: Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993
Aquaculture: commercial | Ref: Arthington, A.H. and F. McKenzie, 1997
Regulations: restricted | Ref: Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993
Uses: gamefish: yes;
Comments: Introduced to Qld., N.S.W., Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia (Ref. 7300). Rainbow trout were introduced to Australian inland waters, primarily for their sporting value. They are cool water (4-19° C) species, restricted mainly to alpine and sub-alpine waters. Self maintaining populations of rainbow trout occur in higher altitude waters of New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Populations are maintained by stocking in warmer rivers and reservoirs throughout New South Wales and Victoria. Cooler waters in Tasmania mean that trout are common down to sea level. Trout populations are also present in rivers and reservoirs around Adelaide in South Australia and in the south-west of Western Australia. Populations in Western Australia are largely maintained by continued stocking as there is an absence of suitable natural spawning sites. There are also isolated populations of sea run trout in Tasmanian and Victorian streams. Because of its history of introduction into Australia, rainbow trout can genetically be considered as a single stock. It is unclear whether its anadromy is a truly genetic adaptation or simply an opportunistic behavior. It seems that any stock of rainbow trout is capable of migrating, or at least adapting to sea water, if the need or opportunity arises. They require moderate to fast flowing, well oxygenated waters for breeding, but they also live in cold lakes (Ref. 6390, 44894). Rainbow trout survive better in lakes than in streams (Ref. 26519). Adults feed on aquatic and terrestrial insects, mollusks, crustaceans, fish eggs, minnows, and other small fishes (including other trout); young feed predominantly on zooplankton (Ref. 26523).
National Checklist:
Country Information: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/geos/as.html
National Fisheries Authority:
Occurrences: Occurrences Point map
Main Ref: Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee and C. Grieve, 1993
National Database:

Common names from other countries

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Salmoniformes (Salmons) > Salmonidae (Salmonids) > Salmoninae
Etymology: Oncorhynchus: Greek, onyx, -ychos = nail + Greek, rhyngchos = snout (Ref. 45335);  mykiss: Oncorhynchus=hooked snout; mykiss=a vernacular name for the species in Kamchatka, Russia (Ref. 79012).

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Marine; freshwater; brackish; benthopelagic; anadromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 200 m (Ref. 50550).   Subtropical; 10°C - 24°C (Ref. 12741); 67°N - 32°N, 135°E - 117°W

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Pacific Slope from Kuskokwim River drainage in Alaska to Otay River drainage in California, USA. Widely introduced and established in Canada and USA, including Arctic, Atlantic, Great Lakes, Mississippi River, and Rio Grande basins, and elsewhere in the world (Ref. 86798). Eastern Pacific: Kamchatkan Peninsula and have been recorded from the Commander Islands east of Kamchatka and sporadically in the Sea of Okhotsk as far south as the mouth of the Amur River along the mainland. The records outside Kamchatka probably represent migrating or straying Kamchatkan steelhead (penshinensis) rather than the established native population (Reg. 50080). Several countries report adverse ecological impact after introduction.

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 122 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 96339); common length : 60.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5504); max. published weight: 25.4 kg (Ref. 7251); max. reported age: 11 years (Ref. 12193)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 10-12; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 8 - 12; Vertebrae: 60 - 66. Body elongate, somewhat compressed especially in larger fish. No nuptial tubercles but minor changes to head, mouth and color occur especially in spawning males. Coloration varies with habitat, size, and sexual condition. Stream residents and spawners darker, colors more intense. Lake residents lighter, brighter, and more silvery. Caudal fin with 19 rays (Ref. 2196). Differs from Oncorhynchus gorbuscha by having the following unique characters: by having the following unique characters: anal fin with 6-9½ (usually 8½ ) branched rays; 115-130 scales in midlateral row; 16-17 gill rakers; breeding males lacking hump; juveniles lacking parr marks; wide pink to red stripe from head to caudal base, except in sea-run form; and juveniles with 5-10 parr marks (Ref. 59043).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Inhabit clear, cold headwaters, creeks, small to large rivers, lakes, and intertidal areas (Ref. 86798). Anadromous in coastal streams (Ref. 5723). Stocked in almost all water bodies as lakes, rivers and streams, usually not stocked in water reaching summer temperatures above 25°C or ponds with very low oxygen concentrations. Feed on a variety of aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates and small fishes. At the sea, they prey on fish and cephalopods. Mature individuals undertake short spawning migrations. Anadromous and lake forms may migrate long distances to spawning streams (Ref. 59043). Utilized fresh, smoked, canned, and frozen; eaten steamed, fried, broiled, boiled, microwaved and baked (Ref. 9988). Cultured in many countries and is often hatched and stocked into rivers and lakes especially to attract recreational fishers (Ref. 9988).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Reported not to establish breeding populations if the peak emergence of fry corresponds to flood season and cold summer temperatures and if temperature does not fall below 13° C (Ref. 59043). Males mature generally at 2 years and females at 3. Spawning happens from November until May in the Northern hemisphere and from August to November on the Southern hemisphere. The size of the eggs depends on the size of the female. In captivity spawning is fostered by abdominal massage. Egg size 3-6 mm, fry length after hatching 12-20 mm. Hatchlings are well developed and equipped with a large yolk sac. The female finds a spot and digs a pit. While digging, an attendant male courts her or is busy driving away other males. As soon as the pit is completed, the female drops into it and is immediately followed by the male. The pair is side by side, they open their mouth, quiver and release egg and sperm. Females produce from 700 to 4,000 eggs per spawning event (Ref. 4706). At this point, a subordinate male moves in and releases sperm into the nest. The female quickly moves to the upstream edge of the nest and starts digging a new pit, covering the eggs. The whole process is repeated for several days until the female deposits all her eggs (Ref. 27547). Young fish move downstream at night, shortly after emergence (Ref. 4706). Reproductive strategy: synchronous ovarian organization, determinate fecundity (Ref. 51846).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr, 2011. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 663p. (Ref. 86798)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 115185)

CITES (Ref. 115941)

Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Potential pest




Human uses

Fisheries: highly commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes
FAO(Aquaculture: production, species profile; fisheries: production; publication : search) | FishSource | Sea Around Us

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Estimates of some properties based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969): 1.3 - 10, mean 5.4 (based on 315 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00955 (0.00737 - 0.01237), b=3.03 (2.98 - 3.08), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  4.1   ±0.3 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.38-0.46; tm=2-5; tmax=11; Fec=200).
Prior r = 0.46, 2 SD range = 0.2 - 1.07, log(r) = -0.78, SD log(r) = 0.42, Based on: 1 K, 9 tgen, 1 tmax, 3 Fec records
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Moderate vulnerability (36 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Low.