Taxonomic name: Salvelinus fontinalis (Mitchill, 1814)
Synonyms: Baione fontinalis (Mitchill, 1814), Salmo canadensis Griffith & Smith, 1834, Salmo fontinalis Mitchill, 1814, Salmo hudsonicus Suckley, 1861, Salvelinus timagamiensis Henn & Rinckenbach 1925
Common names: Âait (Inuktitut-Canada), aanaatlik (Inuktitut-Newfoundland, Cananda), aanak (Inuktitut-Canada), American brook charr (English-Kenya), Amerikanischer bachsaibling (German-Germany), Amerikanischer saibling (German-Germany), Amerikanski goletz (Russian-Russian Federation), Amerikanskiy golets (Russian-Russian Federation), ana (Inuktitut-Newfoundland, Cananda), Âna (Inuktitut-Canada), anakleq (Inuktitut-Newfoundland, Cananda), anokik (Inuktitut-Canada), anuk (Inuktitut-Canada), aurora trout (English-Canada), azad mahi cheshmahi (Farsi-Iran), Bachsaibling (German-Germany, Switzerland), bäckröding (Swedish-Sweden), baiser (English-Newfoundland, Cananda), Beekforel (Afrikaans-South Africa), bekkeror (Norwegian-Norway), bekkerøye (Norwegian-Norway), breeder (English-Newfoundland, Cananda), bronforel (Dutch-Belgium, Netherlands), brook char (English-Ausralia, New Zealand), brook charr (English-Canada, South Africa, United Kingdom), brook trout (English-United States, United Kingdom, Canada, India, Kenya, Papua New Guinea), brookie (English-Canada, United States), char (English-United States), coaster (English-Canada), common brook trout (English-Canada), eastern brook trout (English-United States, Canada), eastern speckled trout (English-Canada), Elsässer saibling (German-Germany), fântânel (Romanian-Romania), giigaq (Alutiiq-Alaska, USA), humpbacked trout (English-Newfoundland, Cananda), i ha luk (Inuktitut-Newfoundland, Cananda), iqaluk (Inuktitut-Newfoundland, Cananda), iqaluk tasirsiutik (Inuktitut-Canada), kawamasu (Japanese-Japan), kaynak alabaligi (Turkish-Turkey), kildeorred (Danish-Netherlands), kildeørred (Danish-Denmark), lindableikja (Icelandic-Iceland), lord-fish (English-Newfoundland, Cananda), masamek (Cree-Canada), masamekos (Cree-Canada), masamekw (Cree-Canada), masumèk (Cree-Canada), mountain trout (English-Canada), mud trout (English-Canada), native trout (English-Canada), omble de fontaine (French-France, Canada), pastrav fântânel (Romanian-Romania), pataki szajbling (Hungarian-Hungary), pstrag zrodlany (Polish-Poland), puronieriä (Finnish-Finland), salmerino di fontaine (Italian-Switzerland), salmerino di fontana (Italian-Italy), salmerino di fonte (Italian-Italy), salter (English-United Kingdom), salvelino (Spanish-Spain), salvelinos (Greek-Greece), saumon de fontaine (French-France, Switzerland), sea trout (English-Canada), siven (Bulgarian-Bulgaria), siven americký (Czech-Czech Republic), sivon americký (Slovak-Slovakia), sivon potocny (Czech-Czech Republic), slob (English-Newfoundland, Cananda), speckled char (English-Canada, United Kingdom), speckled trout (English-United States, Canada, Kenya), specks (English-United States), squaretail (English-United States), square-tail (English-Canada), squaretailed trout (English-Canada), Tiegerfisch (German-Germany), trout (English-Newfoundland, Cananda), trucha de arroyo (Spanish-Spain, Mexico), truite (French-Canada), truite de mer (French-Canada), truite mouchetée (French-Canada), truta-das-fontes (Portuguese-Portugal), whitefin (English-United States)
Organism type: fish
Introduced as a highly desirable fish for both angling and aquaculture throughout the world, Salvelinus fontinalis (brook trout) is an invasive that threatens native amphibians and fish, as well as the ecology of lakes and streams. Several native fish and amphibians face threatened or endangered status as a result of their introduction. Removal of Salvelinus fontinalis has been conducted in many places to allow for the recovery of endemic species.
Salvelinus fontinalis has a long, streamlined body usually ranging from 40-50cm long. Its distinct colouration includes a black to dark green back and dorsal fin marbled with paler vermiculations and either a white or reddish belly. It has many pale and some red spots surrounded by blue halos along its sides. The anal, pelvic, and pectoral fins are reddish with a white leading edge and a dark stripe. It also has a adipose fin and slightly forked caudal fin. Its mouth is large and terminal. Males possess a kype on their lower jaw and exhibit very bright orange colouration along it sides during the breeding season. The longest recorded specimen was 86cm and the heaviest was 9.4 kg (FishBase, 2001).
estuarine habitats, lakes, marine habitats, water courses
Salvelinus fontinalis inhabit cool, well-oxygenated streams, lakes, and small to medium rivers, as well as estuaries and shallow, coastal or, neritopelagic, marine environments. Most remain in freshwater courses, but some are anandromous, travelling to the sea in the spring. Those who leave freshwater environments usually stay within a few kilometres from river mouths and return to their freshwater habitats in the late summer and fall. Brook trout are demersal and prefer to inhabit pools with large woody debris. They occur in temperate environments 0-25°C and in a depth range of about 15-27m. They are relatively tolerant of acidic waters withstanding a pH as low as 5.0 (FishBase, 2001; Flebbe, 1999)
Introductions of invasive Salvelinus fontinalis as the result of angling and aquaculture have facilitated a severe impact on native systems throughout the world. Impacts include the severely threatening replacement and displacement of, as well as, competition and hybridization with native fishes; predation and population reduction of amphibians to the point of endangerment; and top down cascading trophic interactions resulting in modifications of benthic zooplankton, macroinvertebrates, and algal communities. Brook trout have been found to compete with, displace, or replace many fish species throughout the world including golden trout (Oncorhynchus aguabonita), brown trout (Salmo trutta), Yellowstone cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki bouvieri), Colorado River Basin cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki pleuriticus), westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki lewisii), greenback cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki stomias), and Lohantan cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki henshawi), bull trout (see Salvelinus confluentus in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species), and chinook trout (Oncorhynchus tshawytsch).
Hybridization between brook trout and native species poses another threat to endemic fish. Hybridizations with brown trout (Salmo trutta), Dolly Varden (Salvelinus malma), and threatened bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) have been recorded.
Finally, many introductions of Salvelinus fontinalis were to previously fishless lakes which resulted in a dramatic reduction of many threatened, even endangered amphibian populations. Specific negative interactions by introduced brook trout have been imposed on the Chiricahua leopard frog (see Rana chiricahuensis in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species), boreal chorus frog (Pseudacris maculata), Colombia spotted frog (Rana luteiventris), wood frog (Rana sylvatica), tailed frog (Ascaphus truel), cascade frog (see Rana cascadae in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species), Pacific tree frog (Pseudacris regilla), Iberian frog (see Rana iberica in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species), tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum), northwestern salamander (Ambystoma gracile), long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum), boreal toad (see Bufo boreas in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species), palmate newt (Triturus helveticus), alpine newt (Triturus alpestris), marbled newt (Triturus marmoratus), and endangered species mountain yellow-legged frog (see Rana muscosa in IUCN Red List of Threatened Species) (Bosch et al. 2006; Bradford, 1998; Dunham, 2004; FishBase, 2001; Leary et al. 1993; Levin et al. 2002; Nakano et al. 1998; Reiman et al. 2006; Spens et al. 2007; Fuller, 2006; Jansson, 2008).
Brook trout are extremely popular in aquaculture and angling. Most of their introductions have been because of this. They are an important food source and socio-economic resource. Also, they are commonly used as experimentation test individuals (FishBase, 2001).
Salvelinus fontinalis is actually a char and not a trout despite its common name. It has a medium resiliency and a minimum population doubling time of 1.4-4.4 years (FishBase, 2001).
Salvelinus fontinalis hybrids include: S. fontinalis x S. namaycush: commonly known as splake (United Kingdom), splejk (Sweden);
S. fontinalis x S. alpinusommonly known as sparctic charr, sparctic trout (United Kingdom), Elsässer Saibling (Germany), Brødding (Denmark), Bröding (Sweden);
S. fontinalis x Salmo trutta commonly known as tiger trout, tigerfish (United Kingdom) Tigerfisch (Germany), Tigerfisk, tigerforell, tigeröring (Sweden) (Jansson, 2008).
Native range: Canada, United States
Known introduced range: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, Venezuela, Zimbabwe. (FishBase, 2001)
Introduction pathways to new locations
Aquaculture: Most introductions of Salvelnus fontinalis have resulted from aquaculture endeavours (FishBase, 2001).
Local dispersal methods
Natural dispersal (local): Salvelinus fontinalis is highly capable of dispersing and can ascend slope gradients of 22% , vertical falls of 1.3 meters, and complex falls of 1.15 m (Bjorkelid, 2003).
Preventative measures: The use of potentially invasive alien species for aquaculture and their accidental release/or escape can have negative impacts on native biodiversity and ecosystems. Hewitt et al, (2006) Alien Species in Aquaculture: Considerations for responsible use aims to first provide decision makers and managers with information on the existing international and regional regulations that address the use of alien species in aquaculture, either directly or indirectly; and three examples of national responses to this issue (Australia, New Zealand and Chile). The publication also provides recommendations for a ‘simple’ set of guidelines and principles for developing countries that can be applied at a regional or domestic level for the responsible management of Alien Species use in aquaculture development. These guidelines focus primarily on marine systems, however may equally be applied to freshwater.
Copp et al, (2005) Risk identification and assessment of non-native freshwater fishes presents a conceptual risk assessment approach for freshwater fish species that addresses the first two elements (hazard identification, hazard assessment) of the UK environmental risk strategy. The paper presents a few worked examples of assessments on species to facilitate discussion. The electronic Decision-support tools- Invasive-species identification tool kits that includes a freshwater and marine fish invasives scoring kit are made available on the Cefas (Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science) page for free download (subject to Crown Copyright (2007-2008)).
Physical: Several methods of physical removal of Salvelinus fontinalis have been utilized to allow for recovery of affected native species. These methods result in little if any effects on non-target organisms or detriment to surrounding environments. They are very effective in small areas but prove somewhat inefficient on a grander scale. Methods include the use of depletion electrofishing, capture with monofilament gill nets, and underwater angling.
Electrofishing and removal has been employed in several instances and has replaced the use of ichthyocides in many locations. Treatment methods include backpack and boat mounted shockers. In the Colorado River Basin, USA, brook trout were removed to successfully promote severely diminished Colorado River Basin cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki pleuriticus) populations using three pass depletion-removal electrofishing. Similarly, brook trout were eradicated from several creeks in Montana, USA to study the effects on failing, native westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki lewisii). Another electofishing removal study was successfully conducted in Colorado, USA to investigate the effects of brook trout on native cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki) (Peterson et al. 2004; Thompson & Rahel 1996; Shepard, 2004).
The removal of S. fontinalis using monofilament gill nets was successful recovering endangered mountain yellow-legged frog (Rana muscosa) in the 60 Lakes Basin of Kings Canyon National Park in the Sierra Nevada, USA. Another study in the Sierra Nevada in Maul Lake found the use of gill nets to be effective and more cost efficient than the use of piscicide Rotenone in small lakes. In Mount Rainer Park, Washington, USA, nets were employed to remove brook trout from a mountain lake, which yielded a successful recovery of northwestern salamander (Ambystoma gracile). Finally, the same method was used in Bighorn Lake, Alberta, Canada to study eradication of non-native fish to study their effects cascading trophic interactions. Conclusions found eradication to provide a partial to full recovery of lake flora and fauna (Vrendenburg, 2004; Knapp & Matthews, 1998; Hoffman et al. 2004; Parker & Schindler, 2006).
Underwater angling using live invertebrate bait is a primitive yet effective method used in Elk Creek, Montana, USA to eradicate S. fontinalis and successfully recover threatened native bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) and cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki) (Nakano et al. 1998).
Chemical: The use of toxic piscicides for the removal S. fontinalis, and fish in general, has dramatically declined as a result of improved understanding of its ecological effects and mortality of nontarget organisms. The use of piscicides is effective, especially in large areas were physical removal methods prove inefficient. However, most eradications are done to aid threatened native organisms which is difficult when considering their probable harm as a result of piscicide use. Treatment methods include drip stations and backpack and helicopter mounted sprayers. Successful eradication of brook trout using antimycin was performed in Yellowstone Lake tributary Arinca Creek in Wyoming, USA to allow for cutthroat trout recovery. Rotenone is another effective piscicide in eradicating brook trout (Gresswell, 1991; Knapp & Matthews, 1998).
Brook trout are considered opportunistic feeders. They prefer larger prey but feed on a wide range of organisms including worms, leeches, beetles, crustaceans, molluscs, fishes, small amphibians: frogs and salamanders, small mammals, insects: chironomids, caddisflies, blackflies, mayflies, stoneflies, and dragonflies, and sometimes plant matter (FishBase, 2001; Morinville & Rasmussen, 2006).
Oviparous. Sexual. External Fertilization. Spawning occurs in shallow riffles or shoreline with loose gravel and oxygen-rich water during late summer or autumn depending on the climate. Males court females by driving them towards suitable spawning gravel. Receptive females dig a depression, or 'redd', in the gravel bed. Males swim around the female, over and under her, while she digs. He rubs her with his fins and fends off other males. The pair enter the redd and the female deposits the eggs while the male fertilizes them. The female then covers the eggs with small gravel and sediment (FishBase, 2001).
Brook trout sac fry hatch from eggs after about 100 days at 5°C. These tiny larvae stay in the 'redd' absorbing their yolk. They are about 4cm long when they emerge from the 'redd' to begin feeding. In both sexes fish reach maturity in an average 2 years. Average life span is about 5 years (FishBase, 2001).
Reviewed by: Pam Fuller USGS/BRD, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program. Florida Integrated Science Center. USA
Compiled by: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
Last Modified: Thursday, 21 May 2009