Cutthroat trout profile



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]]>Cutthroat Trout Profile.Back to ProfilesFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to:navigation,search Cutthroat troutGreenback cutthroat trout, O. c. stomiasScientific classificationKingdom:AnimaliaPhylum:ChordataClass:ActinopterygiiOrder:SalmoniformesFamily:SalmonidaeGenus:OncorhynchusSpecies:O. clarkiiBinomial nameOncorhynchus clarkii
(J. Richardson, 1836)[1]Subspecies

Oncorhynchus clarkii clarki
O. c. alvordensis (considered extinct)
O. c. behnkei
O. c. bouvieri
O. c. henshawi (threatened)
O. c. lewisi
O. c. macdonaldi (extinct)
O. c. pleuriticus
O. c. seleniris (threatened)
O. c. stomias (threatened)
O. c. utah
O. c. virginalis

The cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii) is aspecies offreshwaterfish in thesalmonfamily oforderSalmoniformes.[2] It is one of the many fish species colloquially known as trout. All subspecies of cutthroat trout are sought aftergamefish, especially amonganglers who enjoyfly fishing.

Several native subspecies of cutthroat are currently listed asthreatened, generally due to loss of habitat and introduction of non-native species.

Range and habitat

Cutthroat trout are native to western North America. The cutthroat species has evolved throughgeographic isolation into many subspecies, each native to a different majordrainage basin. Native cutthroat species are found along thePacific Northwest coast, in theCascade Range, theGreat Basin, and throughout theRocky Mountains. Some coastal populations areanadromous, living primarily in thePacific Ocean as adults and returning to fresh water from fall through early spring to feed on insects and spawn. Most populations, however, stay in freshwater throughout their lives and are known as non-migratory, stream-resident or riverine populations. Anadromous fish may reach weights of 20 pounds (9 kg), but those fish which remain permanently in freshwater may only reach a weight of 2 pounds (1 kg). At least three subspecies are confined toisolated basins in theGreat Basin and can toleratesaline oralkaline water.


Throughout their native and introduced range, cutthroat trout vary widely in size, coloration, and habitat selection. Though their coloration can range from golden to gray to green on the back, and depending on subspecies strain and habitat, they usually feature distinctive red, pink, or orange linear marks along the underside of themandible in the lower folds of the gill plates; the easiest diagnostic of the species for the casual observer. These markings are responsible for the formation of the typical name “cutthroat”. At maturity, different populations and subspecies of cutthroat can range from 6–40 inches (15–100 cm) in length, depending on habitat and food availability, making size an ineffective indicator as to species identity. Cutthroat are typically prized as a sportfish, particularly by fly anglers, as their propensity to inhabit remote waters and diminutive streams appeals to the sense of adventure present in many outdoor enthusiasts. In addition, their tendency to exhibit significant activity and resistance to anglers in conjunction with this species’ affinity for terrestrial or mature insects serves to increase popularity of the cutthroat as an angler’s quarry. Finally, the cutthroat participates in a unique predator-prey relationship with the bull trout that is key to ecosystem integrity across much of its natural range.

Cutthroat will readily interbreed with the closely relatedrainbow trout, producing fertilehybrids commonly called “cutbow“. As this species generally bears similar coloration and overall appearance to the cutthroat, retaining the characteristic orange-red slash, these hybrids often pose a taxonomical difficulty. In addition, cutthroat will also hybridize with the O. gilae subspecies, theGila trout andApache trout in regions where their ranges overlap.


There are manysubspecies of cutthroat, each native to a separate geographic area. The cutthroat trout is thought by scientists to have evolved over the past two million years from otherOncorhynchus species which migrated up theColumbia andSnake river basins. There are at least 10, and perhaps more than 14 subspecies,[2][3] including:

Pacific Coast

Great Basin trout_2Likely O. c. utah, northernUtah

Northern Rockies trout_3O. c. bouvieri

Southern Rockies trout_4O. c. virginalis


The cutthroat trout is the state fish of Idaho and Wyoming, while particular subspecies of cutthroat are the state fish of Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.

Origin of the name

The common name “cutthroat” refers to the distinctive red coloration on the underside of thelower jaw.

Cutthoat trout were given the species name clarki in honor ofWilliam Clark, who co-led theLewis and Clark Expedition of 1804–1806.[1] One of Lewis and Clark’s missions was to describe the flora and fauna encountered during the expedition. Thetype specimen of O. clarki was described by naturalistJohn Richardson from a tributary of the lowerColumbia River, identified as the “Katpootl”,[1] which was perhaps theLewis River as there was aMultnomah village of similar name at the confluence. This type specimen was most likely the coastal cutthroat subspecies.


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