Fun Masu Salmon Facts For Kids

Fiza Talath
Nov 18, 2022 By Fiza Talath
Originally Published on Sep 01, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Masu salmon facts include that they migrate to rivers to spawn.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.6 Min

A masu salmon fish, also known as the cherry salmon or cherry hybrid salmon, belongs to the family of salmon species and are an anadromous fish. The Oncorhynchus masou or the cherry salmon lives in the western Pacific Ocean, ranging from the Kamchatka Peninsula to Sakhalin Island, the Kuril Islands, Primorsky Krai.

They are also found in southern Korean and Japanese waters. Masu salmon location depends on the temperature of the water as these fish do not survive at a low temperature.

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has listed it as a highly threatened species. There has been a continuous decline in the population of this species since the 20th century. Masu salmon are the prettiest of all species of Pacific salmon.

They are covered in beautiful patterns of red and dark brown. The masu salmon's appetite differs depending on the habitat.

The species living in warm freshwater usually feed on small aquatic insects or baby plankton. These fish are considered to be quite light weight.

Keep on reading to learn more interesting facts about masu salmon. For more relatable content, check out these pilchard facts and brook trout facts for kids.

Masu Salmon Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a masu salmon?

The masu salmon is a carnivorous fish that is found in the Pacific Ocean, ranging from Korea, Japan, Kamchatka, the Kuril Islands, Sakhalin, and Taiwan.

What class of animal does a masu salmon belong to?

A masu salmon fish, also known as the cherry salmon or cherry hybrid salmon, belongs to the family of salmon species. They are of the Actinopterygii class and Oncorhynchus genus. These are sometimes called Pacific salmon.

How many masu salmons are there in the world?

It is not possible to accurately record the number of Oncorhynchus masou that there are in the world today. However, there are exactly seven species of Pacific salmon in the world and among these, the majority of them are found in North America.

Chinook, coho, chum, sockeye, and pink salmon can be found in Asia. The species found in Asian regions are called Asian masu.

Where does a masu salmon live?

The Oncorhynchus masou or the cherry salmon lives in the western Pacific Ocean, ranging from the Kamchatka Peninsula to Sakhalin Island, the Kuril Islands, Primorsky Krai. They also reside in southern Korean and Japanese waters.

What is a masu salmon's habitat?

The masu salmon (Oncorhynchus masou) is native to China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, and Russia. The cherry salmon habitat is the sea, oceans, great lakes, and rivers. Masu salmon live in warm and temperate waters, unlike other Pacific salmon.

These fish do not survive at a low temperature. They can be found in the western Pacific Ocean. They range from the Kamchatka Peninsula to Sakhalin Island, the Kuril Islands, Primorsky Krai.

They are also found in southern Korea, Japan, and North America. The masu salmon are migratory fish and spend half their lives migrating. They can not reside in one region for longer than a couple of months.

Who does masu salmon live with?

Masu salmon (Oncorhynchus masou) live alone or in a group called a shoal. The species living in the ocean usually live in groups or in a shoal, while cherry salmon that live in freshwater are solitary and live alone.

How long does a masu salmon live?

The life span of the salmon masu varies based on the region that they live in. For instance, freshwater stream salmon Oncorhynchus tend to have a longer age than the salmon that live in the ocean.

However, the average age of the masu salmon is five to seven years. These fish take two to three years to attain maturity and spawn

How do they reproduce?

Similar to all the other seven species of salmon, the Pacific salmon fish mature into adults or mature masu salmon after three to four years.

The breeding fields, better known as spawning sites, are hunted down by the adult males of masu salmon soon after they return to their homes after migration from freshwater streams and rivers. The salmon masu generally picks a comfortable environment where water flow is constant with gravel as this type of water has high levels of infused oxygen.

The masu salmon spawning period takes place between the months of September and December.

The female masu salmon lays the eggs in a nest that is formed using gravel. After these fish spawn, the female can lay an average of 1,200 eggs at once.

These gravel nests are called redds. The eggs take about six to seven weeks to hatch. The newly born hatchlings are called alevin.

It may take one to two years for the alevin to grow and attain maturity and form fins. Attaining maturity for these fish is a huge milestone because this period of maturity is quite tough for young cherry salmon as a number of threats hover around them at all times.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the cherry salmon is Critically Endangered. The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has listed this salmon as a highly threatened species.

There has been a continuous decline in the population of this species since the 20th century. The primary reason behind the declining population of this fish is its commercial use. For commercial purposes like fishing and for fisheries, this animal is pulled out of the wild, the sea, river, stream, and the ocean.

Masu Salmon Fun Facts

What does masu salmon look like?

One of the most beautiful species of salmon, the masu salmon belongs to the family of anadromous fish and is also known as the cherry salmon, red masu salmon, or even red-spotted masu salmon due to its vivid red patterns that cover its shiny scales.

A matured masu salmon usually has a dark back with bright red stripes or large spots on the sides of its body that merge into lighter bands as you move to the lower half of its body.

The adult salmon weigh 4-5 lb (1.8-2.3 kg).

They roughly measure around 21 in (53.3 cm). The maximum size that this fish has attained is in the region of Primorsky Krai.

The masu salmon also found in Taiwan resembles a cherry.

How cute are they?

Masu salmon are the prettiest of all species of Pacific salmon. They are covered in beautiful patterns of red and dark brown. As these fish mature, some even develop pink shades on their body that makes them even more appealing. This species may not be considered cute by everyone.

How do they communicate?

It is believed that fishes communicate through their touch and some studies also reveal that the masu salmon communicate by the darkening of the scales. This fish may even use their sense of smell to communicate.

How big is a masu salmon?

The masu salmon size range is 22-26 in (56-66 cm) long. The masu salmon is three times larger than a cory catfish.

How fast can a masu salmon swim?

A masu salmon can swim at an average speed range of 1.3 mph (2.1 kph) whereas the adult masu salmon speed while swimming can reach up to 7.4 mph (12 kph).

How much does a masu salmon weigh?

The masu salmon's weight range is no more than 12 lb (5.4 kg). In fact, they are considered to be light weight for salmon!

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names given to the male and females species of masu salmon. 

What would you call a baby masu salmon?

The term alevin is used to refer to a hatchling of a masu salmon.

What do they eat?

The masu salmon's appetite changes depending on the habitat. The species living in warm freshwater usually feed on small aquatic insects or baby plankton, while species living in salt water, where they spend the majority of their lives, eat most forms of tiny, young fish.

Are they dangerous?

No, these salmon fish are not dangerous in any way unless they are meddled with. They have sharp teeth and may harm anyone who tries to annoy them.

Would they make a good pet?

These fish belong to the wild. Their habitat consists of fresh and salty waters. They prefer deep and dark water. The depth of the ocean can not be compared to the depth of any man-made aquarium. It is best to let these rare fish swim in the open.

Did you know...

The masu salmon belongs to a group of fish called Salmonids. Salmonids are fish that live in marine water as well as salt water and their origin can be traced from the Northern Hemisphere with temperate regions. They are a species belonging to Pacific salmon.

This species has a bunch of subspecies as well. Some subspecies include the Toyama masu salmon, the Lake Washington salmon masu, and Asian masu.

One of the rarest salmon is the Formosan land-locked salmon.

The masu salmon migration to Pacific happens on an annual basis.

These fish belong to the category of anadromous. This species migrates up to rivers to spawn.

Are masu salmon endangered?

Yes, masu salmon are an Endangered species. The primary reason behind the declining population of this fish is its commercial use. For commercial purposes like fishing and for fisheries, this animal is caught in the wild, the sea, river, stream.

How did masu salmon get their name?

The masu salmon or cherry salmon derives its name from its appearance. It has a dark back with bright red stripes or large spots on the sides of its body that merge into lighter bands as you move to the lower half of its body, almost resembling a cherry.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our bonito fish interesting facts and chum salmon surprising facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable jack salmon coloring pages.

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Written by Fiza Talath

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance

Fiza Talath picture

Fiza TalathBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance

As an assistant financial accountant, Fiza has developed a strong understanding of the business world. Her Bachelor of Commerce degree, specializing in Accounting and Finance from St Joseph's College of Commerce (Autonomous), enhances her ability to cover a wide range of topics, including finance, accounting, and business. Fiza's writing skills allow her to communicate complex concepts in a clear and engaging manner. She is also passionate about animal welfare, and enjoys writing on this subject as well.

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