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Baikal grayling (Thymallus baikalensis)

This grayling species lives in Lake Baikal and in all its tributaries, including the vast Selenga River basin. In addition, it inhabits the Angara and Yenisei rivers and is found in Lake Khantayskoe (Lower Yenisei). In this large water body of and in the lower reaches of the Yenisei river, the species is dwelling together with the West-Siberian grayling.

Two different forms of Baikal grayling live in the Lake Baikal – white and black graylings. White grayling is feeding in the lake; for the spawning it is entering the Selenga river. The reproduction of the white grayling occurs in the tributaries of the Selenga – in the rivers Dzhida, Chikoy and Khilok. The black Baikal grayling is feeding in the lake, and for spawning it is entering many of its small and medium-sized tributaries.

The scale cover is from silver to gray-black with a turquoise hue. There are small black spots from the head to the middle of the body. The gill covers are dark gray. There are two parallel dark stripes from the pectoral to the ventral fins. Above the ventral fin there is a large reddish spot of varying intensity. The caudal peduncle, anal and caudal fins during the spawning are reddish. The pectoral fins are gray-yellow; the pelvic fins have 4-5 oblique reddish-maroon stripes. In the rear part of the dorsal fin there are 3-5 uneven rows of red or maroon spots. The spots in the upper row are larger than those located below. Some of the spots, merging with the scarlet border, form wide stripes that extend to the middle part of the rays.

Ilya Sherbovich