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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Arctic Char Salvelinus alpinus

Arctic char are adapted for life in cold, oxygen-rich water and cannot tolerate warm or polluted water. There are two physiological races of Arctic char: a migratory form that lives in the sea but spawns in rivers, and a land-locked lake form. Migratory char grow to at least 3 ft (1 m) long and are regarded as excellent game fish. Shortly after the last ice age, they ranged much farther south but are now restricted to Arctic waters. The char that live in mountain lakes are relicts of this period.

Arctic Charzoom image
  • Order Salmoniformes
  • Length Up to 3 ft (1 m)
  • Weight Up to 33 lb (15 kg)
  • Depth 0–230 ft (0–70 m)
  • Distribution Arctic Ocean and northern freshwater rivers and lakes
Arctic Char habitat mapzoom image