Kumzha is a lake or more often anadromous fish belonging to the salmon family. Most often it is confused with trout due to its similar appearance and lifestyle. A distinctive feature of the species is the ability to quickly adapt to various living conditions. The lacustrine form can quickly pass to the anadromous, marine form, if necessary. An active fishery object, also grown in artificial reservoirs.
Origin of the species and description
Kumzha is divided into freshwater and living in the sea. By the way, for convenience, freshwater is often simply called trout. Both of these species belong to salmon and have such obvious differences that it is very difficult to attribute them to one species.
Scientists use mitochondrial DNA to study the pathways of brown trout settlement. Thanks to him, it was possible to establish that the main distribution of brown trout is observed from Norway. In the White and Barents Seas, no special differences were found between representatives of this species, which allows us to conclude that brown trout can be assigned to the same family, regardless of habitat.
Video: Brown trout
Interesting fact: Previously, there was an opinion that brown trout is a relative of salmon. But then ichthyologists, after a thorough analysis of the structure of fish, came to the conclusion that salmon is just a modified flow of anadromous trout.
It is believed that anadromous trout feeds in the sea, after which it goes to the river basin to spawn, where it matures. But freshwater individuals, which also feed before spawning, are often referred to as trout. Among freshwater fish, most of all males, but among migratory fish – females. During the spawning season, they all join together, forming a large common population.
Interesting fact: Many people believe that brown trout is a slightly modified trout. At one time, trout was brought to New Zealand, which gradually rolled into rivers and the sea. Thus, it gradually turned into a passing trout.
Appearance and features
The body of a trout is covered very dense scales, has an elongated shape. The mouth is very large, has oblique outlines. The upper jaw is distinctly elongated and extends beyond the line of the margin of the eye. The jaws of adult males can be strongly arched. But this is less noticeable than in salmon.
Black spots (very large) cover the entire body of the fish. Below the lateral line, they become rounded and noticeably smaller. Young individuals have a color identical to trout. When the fish is in fresh water, it has a silver color. When the fish reaches sexual maturity, small pink spots appear on the sides. This is especially noticeable in males.
The average trout has a length of 30 to 70 cm, and the weight is from 1 to 5 kg. But in the Baltic Sea you can also find much larger forms (more than 1 m in length and more than 12 kg in weight). Very often this species is compared with salmon. Indeed, they have a lot in common.
But nevertheless, it is customary to single out a number of such parameters that will make it easy to distinguish between brown trout:
- trout have much smaller scales on the tail;
- gill rakers in trout are also much smaller;
- the maxillary bone in trout is much longer;
- in salmon, the dorsal fin is much longer;
Adult trout have a much more pointed anal fin.
If we talk about differences from salmon, then the main feature is a different color. The species also differ in their way of life: salmon goes into fresh water only for spawning and soon dies, refusing food in fresh water. While the brown trout lives perfectly in the river and continues to eat in fresh water no less than in sea water. On average, brown trout live up to 18-20 years, if there are enough conducive normal living conditions for this.
Interesting fact: The largest is the Caspian trout. There is confirmation that an individual weighing 51 kg was once caught. A Baltic trout (standard weight up to 5 kg) was once caught weighing 23.5 kg.
Where does the trout live?
Brown trout inhabit very large areas. It can be easily found both directly in the seas and in rivers.
The largest habitats for brown trout are:
- Azov, Black Seas;
- Volga , Neva, Gulf of Finland;
- rivers of France, Greece, Italy;
- Ural rivers;
- Pskov, Tver, Kaliningrad, Orenburg regions.
The largest number of brown trout is observed in the waters of the Baltic. Thickets, shoals – these are the main places of accumulation of brown trout. When this fish is caught, the line should be cast close to the shore in the first place. There is no need to swim further away – most often it is concentrated here.
The favorite habitats of brown trout are mountainous areas or reservoirs of the plain. The key factor is the purity of the water. Even if there is a strong current – it does not matter. The trout will simply come closer to the shore and find a secluded place to live.
Too warm water, this fish does not favor. The ideal temperature for her is 15-20 degrees. Even for spawning, fish do not go to very warm waters, preferring clean, but a little cool. The most interesting thing is that brown trout can live in various conditions – both in the river and in the sea.
The fish chooses those conditions that are most acceptable for it at the moment and which will contribute to the preservation of the population. Often brown trout do not live in one place for more than 2-3 years. She changes her habitat, but after a year or two she can return to the same place where she lived before.
Now you know where the trout is found. Let's see what this fish eats.
What does the brown trout eat?
Kumzha belongs to the category of predatory fish. Small newborn representatives of the breed feed on plankton and only when the fish become sexually mature — their diet varies. By the way, large individuals of brown trout may well feed on mammals, which often swim across reservoirs. But this applies only to those cases when the fish are too hungry.
The rest of the time their diet consists of:
- small fish that much smaller in size;
- various crustaceans;
- mollusks, worms and other invertebrates that inhabit the bottom layers of the reservoir;
- insect larvae that live near water;
- grasshoppers, butterflies and other insects that fall into the reservoir.
Although the brown trout is essentially a predatory fish, but if necessary (in the absence of sufficient food), it can also eat plant foods. If we talk about catching trout, then it is quite possible to catch it for corn or bread.
At the same time, the brown trout still prefers animal food, eating vegetable food only in exceptional cases. Often brown trout can attack small flocks of fish living in the coastal zone. Also, brown trout actively hunt crustaceans in the thickets near the coast (it can even attack large individuals). It can actively hunt at any time of the year.
Peculiarities of character and lifestyle
Brown should be attributed to anadromous or freshwater fish. In the sea, the brown trout prefers to live closer to the shore, without swimming in particularly deep areas. He tries to avoid any distant migrations. Even if we talk about spawning, she tries to choose those places that are as close as possible to her usual habitat.
If we talk about life in rivers, then it prefers the upper reaches of the trout, but occasionally it can go further away from the coast into rocky ground. Brown trout for normal life requires a large amount of oxygen in the water. That is why she loves fast rivers and swift currents so much. Sometimes brown trout may not return to the sea at all, but continue to live in the river, if there are favorable conditions for this. We are talking about a sufficient number of shelters that are located near shallow water. This is necessary so that the fish can hunt normally. In the morning and in the evening, the fish loves to hunt in the river with very clear water – this is a favorite habitat for brown trout.
In some places (Luga and Narva bays) small trout can be found all year round. Usually the fish begins to enter the river closer to the middle of spring and early summer. The most intense course of fish becomes in September and lasts right up to November. 2-4 years pass before the slope in the sea, after which, after 1-2 years, they will return to the river again.
Kumzha is not a schooling fish. She prefers to live alone. The same applies to migration and hunting. By the way, in hunting the brown trout is very brave. Although she prefers solitude herself, she can challenge and attack representatives of schooling fish.
Social Structure and Reproduction
Brut is not schooling fish. She prefers living and hunting alone. Although she prefers to go to spawn in large groups. But this is more likely due to the fact that the spawning time of the fish chooses the same thing. Unlike many other representatives of salmon, brown trout can spawn several times in their life.
Almost all typical representatives of salmon spawn only once in a lifetime. Before that, they try to eat as little as possible and die shortly after spawning. But the trout behaves completely differently. Her diet has nothing to do with spawning: she continues to eat all the time in the usual mode, and soon after spawning she returns to her usual way of life.
Interesting fact: If the trout could not For any reason to return to the sea, she can easily adapt to life in fresh water.
The trout can spawn at any time of the year. The only exception is winter. At one time, the female lays 4-5 thousand eggs. All of them are quite large – about 5 ml in diameter. Most often, fish lay eggs in the coastal areas of reservoirs, burying them in the sand. She can also spawn, choosing a secluded spot under rocks.
It chooses riverbeds for spawning trout, entering there from its usual habitat – from the sea. After spawning, it immediately goes back to the sea. The male fertilizes the spawned eggs, but does not take further part in the life of the offspring. For example, if in some species of fish males protect eggs until the fry appear, then this is not the case for brown trout.
Brown trout fry are relatively small – about 6 ml immediately after they hatch. From 2 to 7 years old, the fry continues to live in the river where he hatched. While the fry is growing, it feeds on larvae. But when it reaches comparative maturity (about 20 cm at that time), it moves to the sea and begins to feed on fry of other fish or invertebrates there. In the sea, before reaching full maturity, the fish lives for about 4 more years. In total, a female brown trout spawns about 8-10 times in her life. The lifespan of a fish is 18-20 years.
An interesting fact: When a trout goes to spawn, it has to unite in a kind of herd. This is necessary because among migratory fish there are significantly fewer males, while freshwater trout have an excess of males. So they have to unite during the spawning period.
Natural enemies of trout
The main enemies of brown trout have always been and remain poachers. They are able to destroy both adults and the eggs themselves. Most often, they hunt individuals directly during the spawning period, thereby destroying both the adult trout itself and the unborn offspring. But if protection against poaching is possible at least partially at the state level, then it is practically impossible to protect the fish population from natural enemies.
The main natural enemies of brown trout include:
- burbots, graylings and even other young representatives of the salmon family (who have not yet reached puberty and continue to live in spawning grounds) prey on newborn fry and eggs;
- fish actively hunting on the water. They can catch trout even in the open sea if it comes close to the surface of the water. Particularly dangerous are those species of birds that are able to dive;
- beavers. Although these animals are rare themselves, they can still do a lot of harm by hunting for rare fish;
- seals and polar bears are very fond of eating such a fish, therefore they are also direct enemies of trout. They are able to catch fish right in the water. Since they are very dexterous, swim quickly, including under water, they can cause a lot of harm to the trout population.
On average, about 1 out of 10 individuals survive in the first year after birth. Further, their mortality gradually decreases and after the first year of life, somewhere around 1 out of 2 fish survives. But if we talk about the population on average, then no more than 2-3 fish out of 100 survive to puberty and spawning.
Species population and status
It is impossible to accurately estimate which population of brown trout. The reason is that fish inhabit large areas. The population includes many different subspecies. Therefore, it is impossible to say for certain how many brown trout now live on the planet. In addition, fish also live in private estates, on farms.
Kumzha, according to the generally accepted division, belongs to the category of fish, the number of which is rapidly declining. This is due to the fact that it is an object of active fishing. That is why active measures are being taken today at the state level to protect the species.
A compromise solution is specially provided farms, where fish are purposefully grown for subsequent capture and use for food. Also, in order to preserve the species, they often prefer to release fish into natural conditions for subsequent adaptation and reproduction. Unfortunately, this does not give the desired result yet.
Brown trout, like other representatives of the salmon family, has very tasty meat, therefore it is subjected to active catch, including by poachers. The number of brown trout is also declining mainly due to the fact that much more fish are caught at the time of spawning, when it is especially susceptible and vulnerable. Because of this, the number is declining precisely because of the lack of proper offspring.
Interesting fact: In the 30s of the last century, the annual catch of brown trout exceeded 600 tons, while now barely reaches 5 tons.
For many years, brown trout, like other representatives of salmon, has been listed in the Red Book. The reason is a significantly declining population. The number of fish is decreasing due to the taste of both the fish itself and the caviar. Brown trout has long been considered a delicacy, highly valued among fishermen. But the number of brown trout is especially reduced due to poaching.
The fish are hunted during the spawning season. Then you can not easily catch fish, but also catch it in large numbers with nets and even simply with your hands. It is not difficult to do this, since the brown trout comes very close to the river bank. That is why, so that salmonids are not completely exterminated, their catch is significantly limited. In particular, you can catch fish only with the help of spinning. The use of nets for fishing is not allowed.
It is also strictly forbidden to catch fish during the spawning season. At this time, catching fish is especially dangerous and fraught with a significant reduction in the population, which is why during the spawning period it is forbidden to directly catch fish, as well as collect caviar. But at the same time, the decline in the population still continues, because it is still impossible to protect the species from natural enemies.
By the way, such a restriction applies to absolutely all representatives of the salmon family. But, unlike the others, the brown trout is still more protected for the reason that it can spawn several times in a lifetime.
Thus, the brown trout is still more of a fishery object. This is not an ornamental fish. That is why its numbers are so subject to reduction. Fish often behaves non-aggressively and therefore is the object of attacks by many enemies. To date, they are trying in every possible way to protect the trout at the state level from potential dangers and population decline.