Difference Between Red and Pink Salmon

Red vs Pink Salmon

Salmons are very popular fish around the world as food species, especially as a disease-free protein source. Red and pink salmon are amongst the most noticeable fishes, and the two could be mistakenly identified. However, there are many differences exhibited between red salmon and pink salmon. They are two different species but in the same genus; therefore, the taxonomic relationship between them is very close. The external appearance or morphology, behaviours, reproduction and distribution are important to consider in differentiating pink salmon from red salmon.

Red Salmon

Red salmon is also known as the Sockeye salmon, and the species is described under the scientific name Oncorhynchus nerka. Red salmons are anadromous fish mainly distributed in both marine and fresh waters of the rivers discharged into the Northern areas of the Pacific Ocean. Red salmons, being anadromous, live in the sea and spawn in freshwater. Since their colour becomes bright and deep red-orange during their spawning phase, their common name red salmon is used to refer them.

One of the most noticeable behaviours of red salmons is the feeding habit, as they highly feed on zooplankton in freshwater, as well as in saltwater. Shrimps and insects are the favourite foods of juveniles, but adults love to go for even large species of zooplankton. Red salmons are caught by commercial fishermen using various nets, and their flesh is either canned or sold as fresh fillets. Red salmons are very popular for their strong and lovable taste, especially when it is smoked. In fact, red salmons are preferred over many others, especially when they are canned.

Pink Salmon

Pink salmon is also known as the Humpback salmon, and the species has been described as the Oncorhyncus gorbuscha. They are naturally distributed in the Pacific and Arctic waters and the rivers discharged into those areas; that means pink salmons are anadromous breeders as most of other salmon species. They are the smallest of all the Pacific salmons. The population sizes of pink salmons are always high, and they are the most abundant salmons in their waters.

Pink salmon’s body colour is usually bright silver with a hint of pinkish colouration towards the belly. Their mouth is white in colour, and gum is black, but there are no teeth on the tongue. The oval shaped black spots are important to notice on their back. Their adipose fin gives them the characteristic shape with the dorsal fin; they are so named as humpback salmons. Their habitat preference would be important to consider, as it ranges from 5.6 0­­C to 14.6 0C. These Coldwater fish are considered as an economical alternative to the costly large salmons, especially canned salmon.

What is the difference between Red and Pink Salmon?

• Red salmon is larger than the pink salmon in body size.

• Pink salmon has pale flesh, but red salmon has reddish orange flesh.

• Pink salmon seem to be tastier than red salmon according to consumption priorities.

• Pink salmon has dark spots on the back but not in red salmon.

• Red salmon has red colour skin, and pink salmon has silver skin.

• Red salmon takes more plankton as diet compared to pink salmon.

• Red salmons prefer warmer waters than cold water pink salmons.