Why do salmon jump?

  • From Pacific Salmon Life Histories. Edited by C. Groot and L. Margolis and in the chapter by William R. Heard on the Life History of Pink Salmon: When returning pink salmon appear near the mouths of streams, they are usually seen swimming near the surface and often exhibit a characteristic leaping behavior. Individuals leave the water, after a rapid swimming burst, in a forward leaping motion with their body initially oriented dorsoventrally, and then quickly rotated laterally, so the fish “falls” on its side or back (Berg 1948). A rapid series of jumps by the same fish often takes place. Reasons for this behavior are unknown.

  • In this video try to observe the above in the various fish (mostly chum salmon) jumping.

  • Think about possible reasons such as they may be trying to clean parasites from gills and scales, or as a side effect of increased and rapid hormonal changes, or just out of agitation.

  • We did do one article on salmon titled Salmon in Winter by Bob Armstrong and Marge Hermans
  • And another The Gifts of Salmon by Bob Armstrong and Marge Hermans
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