Do Salmon Return to the Steam Where They Were Born to Spawn?
June 7, 2009 11:37 PM Subscribe
Do scientists really
know that salmon always return to the stream where they were born in order to spawn? Or are they just telling us a charming story?
posted by edavidoff to science & nature (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Scientists have been telling us for at least 50 years that salmon always return to the stream where they were hatched when they are ready to spawn. Is there any documented proof of this? Because I can't think of any possible way to prove that they behave like this.
First, I don't think it's possible to put some sort of a tag on a baby salmon because they are so small. Second, because of the high mortality rate you'd have to mark hundreds of them to have a chance that some will survive to breeding size. Third, you'd have to find the marked salmon among the hundreds that come to spawn in the stream. And fourth, you'd have to be able to prove that none of the marked salmon went to a different stream.
Do anybody know where and when this myth originated?
And I would suppose that they same question would apply, sort of in reverse, to sea turtles.