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King of the Salmon
Fish ksalmon-1-
Scientific Name Trachipterus altivelis
Conservation Status Data Defficient
Family Chordata
Habitat Eastern Pacific Rim
Food Small fishes, mollusks, krill


King-of-the-salmon, Trachipterus altivelis, is a species of ribbonfish in the family Trachipteridae. Its common name comes from the legends of the Makah people west of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which hold that this fish leads the salmon annually to their spawning grounds. Catching or eating king-of-the-salmon was forbidden, as it was feared killing one would stop the salmon run. This myth is reflected by a former specific epithet used for this fish, rex-salmonorum, rex being Latin for "king". The king-of-the-salmon is found in the eastern Pacific Ocean from Alaska to Chile. It is usually found in the open ocean to a depth of 900 meters (2,950 ft), though adults sometimes feed on the sea bottom.

Large king-of-the-salmon feed on copepods, krill, small pelagic fishes, young rockfishes, squid, and octopus, while small individuals feed on copepods, polychaete worms, and fish larva. Off the coast of Oregon, juveniles have different diets depending on habitat. Offshore juveniles feed mainly on the hyperiid amphipod Phronima, also taking small numbers of other amphipods, copepods, and free-floating fish scales. Inshore juveniles feed mainly on copepods and fish larvae. Known predators of small king-of-the-salmon include the bigeye thresher shark (Alopias superciliosus) and the longnose lancetfish (Alepisaurus ferox). This species is occasionally encountered while trolling for salmon, in nets, or washed up on the shore.

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