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Palia char (Salvelinus lepechini)

From other species of char, the palia is distinguished by bright colors, large head and convex forehead. Many researchers believe that this is a form belonging to the Arctic char species. It reaches the length of 75 cm and the weight of 6-7 kg (and even up to 9.5 kg), the age up to 20 years. This fish lives almost exclusively in the lakes; in the rivers it is found as exception. Two lacustrine forms are distinguished: a relatively shallow-water form, and a deep-water form, dwelling at 70-150 meters. this is valuable fish of the local commercial importance.

This is the medium or large sized char with a large head, predatory mouth and high body. There are small teeth on the jaws, on the palatine and lingual bones. The upper jaw extends beyond the posterior edge of the eye; the lower jaw is sharp and flattened laterally. The kype at the end of the lower jaw and the notch at the end of the upper are poorly developed and only found by the males. the paired and anal fins are long. The caudal stem high the caudal fin is slightly emarginate. The head and back are dark on top; the sides are greenish-gray; the belly is bright orange or yellow. On the sides there are small bright orange spots. The paired and anal fins are red-gray or orange, their outer rays are white. At the tips of the rays of the caudal fin there is a red or orange border; the outer rays of the fin are white or black.

The palia range is the lakes in Sweden, Finland, southern Norway and Russia. In Russia the palia stocks are found in the Ladoga, Onega, Topozero, Pyaozero, Segozero and other water bodies in the north of Karelia, and also in the large lakes of the Kola Peninsula (Imandra, Umbozero, Lovozero). Perhaps this char is present in the waters of the Usa River, belonging to the Pechora River basin.

By the nature of the diet, this fish is eating various food that includes fish (least cisco, smelts and sticklebacks), amphipods, mollusks, and aquatic insects. The growth speed is low — the annual growth is 1-2 cm. The maturation is observed on the fourth, but more often in the fifth or sixth years of life; the spawning is not annual. the reproduction is observed from August to October, along the lake shores on stones, less often on sand and gravel bottom. The fecundity is 1470-8040 eggs (average 29140. The roe is yellow, 3-3.5 mm in diameter.

The palia is included in the Red Book of Karelia.

Ilya Sherbovich