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Fossil range: Late Miocene - Recent
Sockeye Salmon, Oncorhynchus nerka
Female (above) and male in mating season
Note male with kype (hooked jaws)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Superclass: Osteichthyes
Class: Actinopterygii
Subclass: Neopterygii
Infraclass: Teleostei
Superorder: Protacanthopterygii
Order: Salmoniformes
Family: Salmonidae
Genus: Oncorhynchus
Suckley, 1861

Around one dozen, see text.

Oncorhynchus is a genus of fish in the family Salmonidae; it contains the Pacific salmons and Pacific trouts. The name of the genus is derived from the Greek onkos ("hook") and rynchos ("nose"), in reference to the "kype" - the hooked jaw of males in mating season.



Salmon and trout with ranges generally in waters draining to the Pacific Ocean are members of the genus. Their range extends from Beringia southwards, roughly to Japan in the west and Mexico to the east. In North America, some subspecies of O. clarki are native to the landlocked Great Basin, while others are native to the Rio Grande and western tributaries of the Mississippi River Basin which drain to the Gulf of Mexico, rather than to the Pacific.

Unlike many trout species of the mainly European genus Salmo, many Oncorhynchus are anadromous (migratory) and die after spawning. Some species of char (Salvelinus genus) are native to Pacific waters and are also referred to as trout.


Oncorhynchus rastrosus, the Sabertooth salmon (sometimes called Smilodonichthys), was a 9-foot-(3 meter-)long species known from Late Miocene to Pleistocene fossil.[1]


  1. ^ Sepkoski (2002)


  • Behnke, Robert J. (2002): Trout and Salmon of North America. Free Press, 2002.
  • FishBase (2006): Oncorhynchus species. Version of 2006-MAR-14. Retrieved 2008-JAN-31.
  • Sepkoski, Jack (2002): Osteichthyes. In: A compendium of fossil marine animal genera. Bulletin of American Paleontology 364: 560. HTML fulltext
  • Stearley, R.F. & Smoth, G.R. (1993): Phylogeny of the Pacific trout and salmon (Oncorhynchus) and the genera of family Salmonidae. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 122(1): 1-33. DOI:10.1577/1548-8659(1993)122<0001:POTPTA>2.3.CO;2 HTML fulltext
  • Stephenson, S.A. (2005) The distribution of Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) in the Canadian western Arctic.

External links


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