Salvelinus malma - (Walbaum, 1792)
Dolly Varden
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Salvelinus malma (Walbaum in Artedi, 1792) (TSN 162000)
French Common Names: omble du Pacifique, omble malma
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.104555
Element Code: AFCHA05040
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Fishes - Bony Fishes - Salmon and Trouts
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Actinopterygii Salmoniformes Salmonidae Salvelinus
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20. 183 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B91ROB01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Salvelinus malma
Taxonomic Comments: Salvelinus malma previously was considered a subspecies of S. alpinus by some authors but recently has been treated as a distinct species. Recent genetic work indicates that Salvelinus malma may not warrant species status. Brunner et al. (2001) examined phylogeography of the Salvelinus alpinus complex using mtDNA sequences. They assigned the 63 observed haplotypes to five geographic groups that may correspond with different glacial refugia. Patterns of genetic variation did not entirely reflect the magnitude of phenotypic and ecological polymorphism in the Salvelinus alpinus complex, and not all taxa suggested by current taxonomy could be confirmed. The Beringean group, formed entirely by specimens assigned to Salvelinus malma (Dolly Varden), encompassed the area formerly assigned to S. a. taranetzi; the Beringean group could not be confirmed as the sister taxon to all other Salvelinus alpinus, and the species status of Salvelinus malma was regarded as questionable.

Salvelinus confluentus was long confused with look-alike Salvelinus malma (Dolly Varden), especially where the ranges overlap on the Pacific slope (Lee et al. 1980). McPhail (1961, J. Fish. Res. Board Canada 18:793-814) regarded S. confluentus as conspecific with S. malma. Cavender (1978, California Fish & Game 64:139-174) demonstrated the specific distinctiveness of S. confluentus, but hybridization and some introgression occur across a broad area of contact.

Redenbach and Taylor (2002) identified two major Dolly Varden mtDNA clades. Clade N is distributed across much of the species' range from southern British Columbia to the Kuril Islands in Asia. Clade S extends from Washington to the middle of Vancouver Island. This suggests that Dolly Varden survived the Wisconsinan glaciation in a previously unsuspected refuge south of the ice sheet and that Dolly Varden and bull trout probably were in continuous contact over most of the last 100,000 years. Molecular data (e.g., lack of mtDNA monophyly in contrast with reciprocal monophyly based on rRNA) indicate that historical introgression of bull trout mtDNA into Dolly Varden occurred sometime prior to the most recent glaciation (Redenbach and Taylor 2002).

Salvelinus malma includes S. anaktuvukensis, which was described as a distinct species by Morrow (1973) but was included in Salvelinus malma in the 1980 and 1991 AFS checklists (Robins et al. 1980, 1991). Page and Burr (1991) recognized anaktuvukensisas specifically distinct from Salvelinus malma.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 28Dec2017
Global Status Last Changed: 12Sep1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Dec1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N4N5B,N5N,N5M (28Dec2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alaska (S5), Nevada (SNA), New Mexico (SNA), Washington (S3), Wyoming (SNA)
Canada Alberta (SNA), British Columbia (S4), Northwest Territories (S2S3), Yukon Territory (S3S4)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): PSAT: Proposed threatened because of similar appearance (new) (09Jan2001)
Comments on USESA: USFWS (2001) proposed that this species be listed as threatened in Washington due to similarity of appearance to coexisting bull trout (currently listed as threatened).
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R1 - Pacific
Implied Status under the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC):PS:SC

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Sea of Japan and Kuril Islands, across Aleutian chain to Alaska, north in Chukchi and Beaufort seas and south along North American Pacific coast to Puget Sound drainages, Washington, including islands off both Alaska and British Columbia where the bull trout does not occur. In Alaska, known from as far west as St. Matthew Island. Status north of the Seward Peninsula in Alaska is uncertain (Haas and McPhail 1991). A record from the McCloud River drainage, California, based on badly disintegrated specimens, probably pertains to the bull trout (the population is extirpated) (Hass and McPhail 1991). See Haas and McPhail (1991) for a fairly detailed map of Dolly Varden and bull trout distribution in North America. Common (Lee et al. 1980, Page and Burr 1991).

Number of Occurrences:  
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a large number of subpopulations and locations.

Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but relatively large.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: According to Keith Boggs, Vegetation Ecologist/Program Manager, Alaska Natural Heritage Program (pers. comm., 2000), Steve Zempke (fish biologist at the Chugach National Forest) and Mike Kelly (UAA) both believe there were no threats to Dolly Varden in Alaska. It is harvested by sport fishermen but is not a desired fish, and it is not a targeted species for the commercial fisheries. Habitat disturbance (logging, grazing, damming) is also minimal. There are a few metapopulations that have 'catch and release' restrictions applied to them by the Fish and Game, but these are on heavily fished rivers. Consequently, from a species and population perspective in Alaska, Dolly Varden is ranked as S5.

Short-term Trend Comments: Trend over the past 10 years or three generations is uncertain but likely relatively stable or slowly declining.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Sea of Japan and Kuril Islands, across Aleutian chain to Alaska, north in Chukchi and Beaufort seas and south along North American Pacific coast to Puget Sound drainages, Washington, including islands off both Alaska and British Columbia where the bull trout does not occur. In Alaska, known from as far west as St. Matthew Island. Status north of the Seward Peninsula in Alaska is uncertain (Haas and McPhail 1991). A record from the McCloud River drainage, California, based on badly disintegrated specimens, probably pertains to the bull trout (the population is extirpated) (Hass and McPhail 1991). See Haas and McPhail (1991) for a fairly detailed map of Dolly Varden and bull trout distribution in North America. Common (Lee et al. 1980, Page and Burr 1991).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, NMexotic, NVexotic, WA, WYexotic
Canada ABexotic, BC, NT, YT

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
WA Clallam (53009)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
17 Lower Clark Fork (17010213), Pend Oreille Lake (17010214), Priest (17010215), Pend Oreille (17010216), St. Joe (17010304), Lower Spokane (17010307), Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake (17020001), Kettle (17020002), Chief Joseph (17020005), Similkameen (17020007), Methow (17020008), Lake Chelan (17020009), Upper Columbia-Entiat (17020010), Wenatchee (17020011), Upper Yakima (17030001), Naches (17030002), Lower Yakima, Washington (17030003), Beaver-Camas (17040214), Little Lost (17040217), South Fork Payette (17050120), North Fork Payette (17050123), Lower Snake-Asotin (17060103), Lower Grande Ronde (17060106), Lower Snake-Tucannon (17060107), Lower Snake (17060110), Upper Salmon (17060201), Lemhi (17060204), Upper Middle Fork Salmon (17060205), Lower Middle Fork Salmon (17060206), South Fork Clearwater (17060305), Upper North Fork Clearwater (17060307), Walla Walla (17070102), Middle Columbia-Hood (17070105), Klickitat (17070106), Lewis (17080002), Hoh-Quillayute (17100101)+, Queets-Quinault (17100102), Lower Chehalis (17100104), Grays Harbor (17100105), Fraser (17110001), Strait of Georgia (17110002), Nooksack (17110004), Upper Skagit (17110005), Sauk (17110006), Lower Skagit (17110007), Stillaguamish (17110008), Skykomish (17110009), Snoqualmie (17110010), Snohomish (17110011), Lake Washington (17110012), Duwamish (17110013), Puyallup (17110014), Nisqually (17110015), Skokomish (17110017), Hood Canal (17110018), Dungeness-Elwha (17110020)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed (based on multiple information sources) Help
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Life history pattern varies with location and between anadromous and non-anadromous populations. In different areas spawns September-early November (in spring according to Page and Burr 1991). Eggs hatch usually in spring, 4.5 months after spawning. Young emerge late April to mid-May after about 18 days in gravel. Sexually mature usually in 3-6 years, lives maximum of probably 10-12 years. Some adults do not breed annually. Can experience high post-spawning mortality (Stearley 1992).
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Typically anadromous, but many populations landlocked (Lee et al. 1980). Anadromous populations migrate to spawning areas May-December (usually in fall, according to Page and Burr 1991).
Marine Habitat(s): Near shore
Estuarine Habitat(s): Bay/sound, River mouth/tidal river
Riverine Habitat(s): BIG RIVER, CREEK, High gradient, Low gradient, MEDIUM RIVER, Moderate gradient, Pool, Riffle
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Deep water
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Anadromous individuals occur in coastal seas (2-3 years) and in deep runs and pools of creeks and small to large rivers. Most dwarfed race populations seem to spend their lives in rivers and streams. Some landlocked populations inhabit lakes and tributary streams.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Fry feed on insects and their larvae as well as small crustaceans. In streams young and adult fish feed on insects, spiders, annelids, snails, small fishes and fish eggs. In saltwater adults mainly eat small fishes and invertebrates.
Length: 50 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Help
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Help
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Fishes with Anadromous Populations

Use Class: Freshwater
Subtype(s): Rearing & Migration Area, Spawning & Rearing Area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including eggs and larvae) in appropriate habitat. For anadromous populations, occurrences are based on collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more spawning adults, redds, other evidence of spawning, or larvae or juveniles in appropriate spawning/rearing habitat.
Mapping Guidance: Conceptually, the occurrence includes the entire freshwater area used by the population, including spawning, rearing, and migration areas. For anadromous populations, an occurrence should extend from the most upstream spawning areas downstream to the ocean. However, it is desirable (and practical) to subdivide this sometimes very large occurrence, sometimes overlapping with many other spaghetti-like occurrences extending down from the upstream spawning areas to the ocean, into separate source features or sub-occurrences, labeled with a feature label that reflects the life history stage in that area. Moreover, it may make practical sense to treat the areas downstream of spawning and/or rearing areas as a mixed element animal assemblage: Freshwater Salmon Migration Corridor. This negates the need to separately map each occurrence down to the ocean from its upstream spawning location. Information about areas with different life-history uses can be generated by using best professional judgment by district or regional fish biologists and may or may not incorporate specific locational information from spawning surveys or other surveys.
Separation Barriers: Dam lacking a suitable fishway; high waterfall; upland habitat that is very unlikely to be submerged even during periods of exceptionally high water (e.g., 100-year flood or 1% flood).
Alternate Separation Procedure: For anadromous populations and migratory populations that have distinct and separate spawning and nonspawning areas, the area used by each population whose spawning area is separated by a gap of at least 10 stream-km from other spawning areas within a stream system is potentially mappable as a distinct occurrence that extends down to the ocean (but see mapping guidance), regardless of whether the spawning areas are in the same or different tributaries.

For other (e.g., nonanadromous) populations in streams, separation distance is 10 stream-km for both suitable and unsuitable habitat. However, if it is known that the same population occupies sites separated by more than 10 km (e.g., this may be common for migratory, nonanadromous populations), those sites should be included within the same occurrence. In lakes, occurrences include all suitable habitat that is presumed to be occupied (based on expert judgment), even if documented collection/observation points are more than 10 km apart. Separate sub-occurrences or source features may usefully document locations of critical spawning areas within a lake.

Separation Justification: The separation distance is arbitrary but was selected to ensure that occurrences are of manageable size but not too small. Because of the difficulty in defining suitable versus unsuitable habitat, especially with respect to dispersal, and to simplify the delineation of occurrences, a single separation distance is used regardless of habitat quality.

"Restricted movement is the norm in populations of stream salmonids during nonmigratory periods," but there is considerable variation in movements within and among species (Rodriguez 2002). Redband trout in Montana had October-December home ranges of 5-377 m, consistent with small movements observed for radio-tagged brook trout and cutthroat trout during fall and winter (Muhlfeld et al. 2001). For nonanadromous populations, little is known about juvenile dispersal (e.g., how far fishes may move between between their embryonic developmental habitat and eventual spawning site).

In summer and fall, radio-tagged cutthroat trout in Strawberry Reservoir in Utah had single-month home ranges that were usually about 3-4 km in maximum length (Baldwin et al. 2002). In the Blackfoot River drainage, Montana, radio-tagged westslope cutthroat trout moved 3-72 km (mean 31 km) to access spawning tributaries (Schmetterling 2001). This indicates that migratory but nonanadromous populations may use extensive areas and that one should not invoke the 10-km separation distance without considering the full extent of the population.

Date: 25Nov2009
Author: Hammerson, G., and L. Master
Notes: This Specs Group comprises fish species that include anadromous populations (may also include nonanadromous populations), such as lampreys, sturgeons, herrings, shads, salmonids, and smelts.

Criteria for marine occurrences (Location Use Class: Marine) have not yet been established. These may not be needed for marine occurrences of species that likely will be dealt with as mixed element assemblages (e.g., Salmonid Marine Concentration Area).

Feature Descriptor Definitions:

Spawning Area: area used for spawning but not for rearing or migration.

Rearing Area: area used for larval/juvenile development but not for spawning or migration.

Migration Corridor: area used for migration but not for rearing or spawning.

Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 22Feb2000
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 26Feb2001
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Brunner, P. C., M. R. Douglas, A. Osinov, C. C. Wilson, and L. Bernatchez. 2001. Holarctic phylogeography of Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus L.) inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequences. Evolution 55:573-586.

  • Cannings, S.G., and J. Ptolemy. 1998. Rare freshwater fish of British Columbia. B.C. Minist. Environ. Victoria, BC.

  • Dolly Varden. 1999. B.C. Fish Facts. Conserv. Sect., Fish. Manage. Branch, B.C. Minist. Fish. 2pp.

  • Haas, G. R., and J. D. McPhail. 1991. Systematics and distribution of the Dolly Varden (Salvelinus malma) and bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) in North America. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 48:2191-2211.

  • Haas, G.R. 2000. An at-risk assessment, research study, and review of Dolly Varden (Salvelinus maima) in comparison to bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus). (Submitted).

  • Lee, D. S., C. R. Gilbert, C. H. Hocutt, R. E. Jenkins, D. E. McAllister, and J. R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, North Carolina. i-x + 854 pp.

  • McPhail, J.D. and C.C. Lindsey. 1970. Freshwater fishes of northwestern Canada and Alaska. Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Bulletin 173, Ottawa.

  • Morrow, J.E. 1980. The freshwater fishes of Alaska. Alaska Northwest Publishing Company, Anchorage, AK. 248 pp.

  • Nelson, J. S., E. J. Crossman, H. Espinosa-Perez, L. T. Findley, C. R. Gilbert, R. N. Lea, and J. D. Williams. 2004. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 29, Bethesda, Maryland. 386 pp.

  • Page, L. M., H. Espinosa-Pérez, L. T. Findley, C. R. Gilbert, R. N. Lea, N. E. Mandrak, R. L. Mayden, and J. S. Nelson. 2013. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Seventh edition. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 34, Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes: North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 432 pp.

  • Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 2011. Peterson field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Second edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. xix + 663 pp.

  • Redenbach, Z., and E. B. Taylor. 2002. Evidence for historical introgression along a contact zone between two species of char (Pisces: Salmonidae) in northwestern North America. Evolution 56:1021-1035.

  • Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20. 183 pp.

  • Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lackner, R.N. Lea, and W.K. Scott. 1980. A List of Common and Scientific Names of Fishes from the US and Canada. 4th edition. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication No. 12, Bethesda, Maryland. 174 pp.

  • Rodriguez, M. A. 2002. Restricted movement in stream fish: the paradigm is complete, not lost. Ecology 83(1):1-13.

  • Scott, W. B., and E. J. Crossman. 1973. Freshwater fishes of Canada. Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Bulletin 184. 966 pp.

  • Stearley, R. F. 1992. Historical ecology of Salmoninae, with special reference to Oncorhynchus. Pages 622-658 in R.L. Mayden, editor. Systematics, historical ecology, and North American freshwater fishes. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California. xxvi + 969 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 9 January 2001. Proposed rule to list the Dolly Varden as threatened in Washington due to similarity of appearance to bull trout. Federal Register 66:1628-1631.

  • Wildlife Management Information System (WMIS). 2006+. Geo-referenced wildlife datasets (1900 to present) from all projects conducted by Environment and Natural Resources, Government of the Northwest Territories, Canada.  Available at http://www.enr.gov.nt.ca/programs/wildlife-research/wildlife-management-information-services

References for Watershed Distribution Map
  • Master, L. L. and A. L. Stock. 1998. Synoptic national assessment of comparative risks to biological diversity and landscape types: species distributions. Summary Report submitted to Environmental Protection Agency. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA. 36 pp.

  • Simpson, J. and R. Wallace. 1982. Fishes of Idaho. The University Press of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho. 238 pp.

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