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Table 3 Identification of fish species according to the descriptor qualities used by inhabitants

From: Traditional Mapuche ecological knowledge in Patagonia, Argentina: fishes and other living beings inhabiting continental waters, as a reflection of processes of change

Name Descriptor qualities Inhabitants’ descriptions Bibliographical descriptiona
Perca/ Trucha criolla Tasteless(O)
Oily(O)
Ugly(O)
Has spines(O)
Brown Body(O)
Small body (O)
Rounded body(O)
Has a lot of bones(O)
White flesh(O)
“They are the ones with the spine and white flesh …”
“The perch has a lot of bones, a lot of spines…”
“The colour of the flesh is really white like chicken…”
“The perch is tasteless…”
“They are almost round fish …”
“The perch was always small…”
Principal characteristics: Oblong elongated body. Rather small head. Mouth not very large, including jaw. Small maxilla. Dorsal fin partly spiny and partly soft, separated by a groove. Operculum with small spines. Colouring: Back of the head violet-brown. Scales have coffee-coloured marks or specks. Caudal fin lemon-violet with marks which are almost black.
Dimensions: Reaches 350 mm in length and 3.5 kg in weight.
Pejerrey patagónico Elongated body(O)
Silvery brown bodyO)
  Principal characteristics: Slender, hydrodynamic body. Narrow caudal peduncle.
Colouring: General body colour silvery yellow. Outer edge of each scale has black dots, giving a dark hue.
Rainbow trout Tasty(O)
Nice(O)
Red and yellow specks on body(O)
Large body(O)
Reddish flesh(O)
Invades and kills(E)
River(E)
“Cosa de winka” thing of the white man(E)
“The ones my dad brought were always big…”
“The big fish were trout …”
“The trout have reddish flesh …”
“It was a fish with red and yellow specks …”
“That’s the one that invades and kills the small trout …”
“Then there are those red ones, they’ll be the river ones, then there’s the white one, and the reddish brown one…”
“The ones my dad brought were always wide…”
“That’s the one that invades and kills the other fish…”
Principal characteristics: Large size and rounded belly, body covered in numerous small scales. Has an adipose fin behind the dorsal fin. Caudal fin straight or slightly concave. Large mouth with conical teeth.
Colouring: Dark back with olive green reflections, with black spots extending to flanks. A longitudinal purple stripe runs from the eye to the caudal fin, particularly notable in mature specimens. Spotted dorsal and caudal fins. Silver forms exist.
Dimensions: 650 mm in length and up to12 kg in weight.
Observations: Species of sports value introduced into the country from the USA at the beginning of the 20th century. Some populations live their entire live in lakes, rivers and streams.
Brook trout Tasty(O)
Nice(O)
Red-brown body(O)
Large body(O)
Reddish flesh(O)
Invades and kills(E)
River(E)
“Cosa de winka” thing of the white man (E)
“The big fish were trout …”
“The trout have reddish flesh …”
“The reddish brown one with specks is the tastiest…”
“That’s the one that invades and kills the small trout …”
“Then there are those red ones, they’ll be the river ones, then there’s the white one…”
Principal characteristics: Differs from the other salmonid species mainly in its characteristic colouring.
Colouring: Olive brown with iridescent tones. Back marbled, with vermiculation which extends to dorsal fins. Flanks have red dots surrounded by blue halos and yellow-green spots. Red or orange belly.
Dimensions: up to 530 mm in length and up to 12 kg in weight.
Observations: Originally from the north east of North America. Introduced into Argentina in 1904 in Rio Negro province. Used for repopulation in pisciculture. Lives in Patagonian rivers and lakes.
Atlantic salmon Elongated body(O)
Silvery brown body(O)
  Principal characteristics: Large in size. General body shape slender with edge of caudal fin slightly concave.
Colouring: Body silvery with bluish head and back. Black spots on flanks, some ‘x’ shaped.
  1. aMiquelarena et al. [93]; Del Valle and Nuñez [90]; Wegrzyn and Ortubay [91]