Fish scales and ear bones: A roadmap to the fish life journey

WDFW Research Scientist Joe Anderson collects a salmon otolith during a spawning survey of the Elwha River in September 2020.

Age and growth

Scale from a Chinook salmon.

General life history and movement

An example of a thermally marked otolith collected from Chinook salmon fry. Markers along the white line highlight dark bands created during periods of chilling at the hatchery. Variation in the number of bands and widths between bands create distinctive patterns to identify specific hatcheries or release groups within a hatchery. Magnification 200x.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.

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