The salmon, a fish apart

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 12, 2010

Over the course of their lives, salmon are known first as alevins and then fry, parr, smolts, grilse, and finally kelt.

'Smolt', 'grilse': as Richard Shelton observes, salmon are spoken of in a 'stained-glass language' of their own, their life stages marked by an ichthyological lexicon unchanged since Chaucer's time. Born in a 'redd', a shallow, gravel-covered depression dug by the female in the days before spawning, newly hatched salmon begin life as 'alevins', tiny, buoyant creatures with their yolk sacs still attached.