Framed Art Card - In Formation (Salmon)
The life cycle of the sockeye salmon never ceases to amaze me. Starting out their lives in streams and lakes as alevin, fry and parr, they eventually make their way downstream in formation to the grand ocean. It is here where they spend the next number of years traveling. Most sockeye will journey several thousand kilometers in formation before returning to their home streams. During this time, they will eat large amounts of orange krill which will colour the meat of the salmon, giving the sockeye its distinctive internal hue.
Somehow, their biology decides when the sockeye is to return home. Through their sense of smell and information locked away in their brains, they journey back to the exact same river system that they were born into. It is at this time that they start to line up in formation. They have waited all their lives for this moment. Their sleek silver bodies start to transform. This is especially true for the males: their backs develop a hump, their teeth get larger and their noses become increasingly hooked. As they move into the freshwater of the river, their skin starts to get more and more transparent, such that their bright orange flesh imparts a crimson hue to the returning sockeye.
It is upriver that the sockeye finds its mate. Driven by information, they have returned to their place of origin and will pass on this information to the next generation of sockeye. The female deposits eggs which are fertilized by her mate. Soon after spawning--spent from their great journey--the pair of sockeye will perish and their life cycle will be complete. Their eggs will become alevin which will become fry which will become parr and smolts and they will once again move in formation to a new life.
(9" x 12")