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Thread: Fish identification question

  1. #1
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Fish identification question

    Okay you brainiacs, here's a question I am puzzling over. I have read that hooligan are a type of smelt, and I thought capelin are as well. And then Alaska also has rainbow smelt and longfin smelt. The question is this: how come there is no similarity in their latin names? Or am I mistaken in my belief that they are all smelt?

    Capelin: Mallotus villosus
    Hooligan: Thaleichthys pacificus
    Rainbow smelt: Osmerus mordax
    Longfin smelt: Spirinchus thaleichthys

    Also, are these the only smelt produced in Alaska or are there others?

    Thanks!

    -Mike
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  2. #2
    Member MRFISH's Avatar
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    Kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species.

    The latin names you list are the genus and species. The family (one step up in the taxonomic tree) that smelts fall under is osmeridae. I think all of those you listed are in the family osmeridae.


    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Okay you brainiacs, here's a question I am puzzling over. I have read that hooligan are a type of smelt, and I thought capelin are as well. And then Alaska also has rainbow smelt and longfin smelt. The question is this: how come there is no similarity in their latin names? Or am I mistaken in my belief that they are all smelt?

    Capelin: Mallotus villosus
    Hooligan: Thaleichthys pacificus
    Rainbow smelt: Osmerus mordax
    Longfin smelt: Spirinchus thaleichthys

    Also, are these the only smelt produced in Alaska or are there others?

    Thanks!

    -Mike
    "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

  3. #3
    Member FishGod's Avatar
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    The family Osmeridae has seven recognized genera and 15 or 16 species. Alaska is home to four genera and seven species. Aside from the four species you mentioned, pond (Hypomesus olidus), surf (Hypomesus pretiosus), and night smelt (Spirinchus starksi) exist in Alaska.
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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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