RE: NANFA-- Re: red phase

Jay DeLong (
Sun, 16 Jan 2000 21:43:25 -0800

> I dont know if any one else has gotten to see these, I have found them
> throughoutt he Mississippi Drainage in Wisconsin where warmouth are found.
> Ray

I wonder if that red color is a recessive trait. I imagine the red phase
fish aren't a subspecies because certainly there is interbreeding, and if
they are as widespread as you say they wouldn't they have hybridized with
the normal warmouths? Of course there's the possibility that all the
warmouths in your area represent a distinct subspecies.

I was working at a salmon hatchery a few years ago. At this hatchery we
were isolating the offspring of specific stocks of coho salmon from a single
river. We captured adults from individual tributaries and spawned them and
reared their fry separately in separate raceways in the hatchery. I noticed
that about one-third of the fish in one raceway were the oddest salmon fry
I'd ever seen. Instead of gold or brown in color, they were purple, and
instead of vertical parr marks, they had scattered spots. I'd never seen
anything like those purple spotted salmon. I figured that they were all
from a single male-female cross (coho females have 3,000+ eggs). I was
getting some fish for Andy Borgia at the time so I had some formalin. I
preserved a few because they were so unique. I wondered what caused that,
if it required that specific male-female cross, and how those fish would
have survived in the wild, both as fry and adults. If traits like these are
beneficial to the survival of the individuals, they stand a greater chance
of being passed on as the species continues to evolve. Evolution starts
with individuals. Perhaps that color and those spots would have doomed them
from the start in the wild-- I don't know, but I suspect their survival
would have been greatly decreased.

Jay DeLong
Olympia, WA

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