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Lower-Amur grayling (Thymallus tugarinae)

This grayling species inhabits all swift rivers of the Lower Amur and Ussuri basins; it is found in most of the Middle Amur tributaries. This species is also common in the Tugur River basin, in northwest Sakhalin and in the Kievka River (Primorye).

The scale cover on the sides is light or dark gray, by large fish it is greenish-pearly or greenish-purple. From the pectoral to the ventral fins, two parallel yellowish-brown stripes are visible. the gill covers are gray with a greenish or light purple tint. There is a black oval spot at the border of cleithrum and subcleithrum.

Intermittent bright orange stripes are located between the rows of the scales. Above the base of the ventral fins there is a large maroon or raspberry spot. The tail stalk of the same color. The pectoral and ventral fins are gray-yellow. On the ventral fins there are 4-5 oblique reddish stripes. The anal and caudal fins are maroon. Along the relatively small, semicircular dorsal fin there are 4-5 (rarely 3-4) rows of horizontally elongated oval spots. The dorsal fin has the red border and another bright stripe parallel to it. The upper row consists of large spots that do not merge with a wide border of the same color. The lower rows are incomplete; the spots on them are staggered.

The typical Lower-Amur grayling can be easily distinguished from other species by the bucket-shaped lower jaw and the dorsal fin patterns. As a rule, this species does not reach large sizes; its weight rarely exceeds 300 grams. In the large tributaries of the Lower Amur and the Ussuri River basin, this fish lives together with the yellow-spotted grayling, usually occupying the areas located downstream. In winter, the Lower Amur grayling can migrate down from the small tributaries into the Amur, Ussuri, Zeya, Bureya, and Amgun rivers.

Ilya Sherbovich