Nikko Iwana and Yamato Iwana

On August 26, 2014
Comments (4)

I’m currently on my 6th annual pilgrimage to Japan. My schedule this time is way busier than I have ever had it when visiting. There are many people I wish I could see but won’t be able to this time. Right now we are in the middle of filming for a Japanese TV show. It has been very difficult as the area we are visiting now, Kaida Kogen, is experiencing a lot of rain. We had to wait it out for most of the day today. Finally the weather have us a break and as the film crew got ready I caught a couple of fish that I was able to photograph. To my luck they were Iwana but of two different kinds: Yamato Iwana and Nikko Iwana. Wanna guess which one is which? I will post the answer here in a day.
Top one with whitish spots is the Nikko Iwana, bottom is Yamato Iwana, though David’s comments and links are definitely worth a read!

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» Japan, trout and other fish » Nikko Iwana and Yamato Iwana
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4 Responses to Nikko Iwana and Yamato Iwana

  1. Timmy! says:

    Nikko, top photo. white spots. Certain Mtn. regions in Japan. Yamato, lower photo, red spots.

  2. David says:

    Hmmm, not much to go on. Both species can have similar spots. I initially voted to flip Timmy’s choice.
    But finally decided to go with the same choice.

    Is this like a school test where the wise choice is said to be to stick with the first one ? No wait. Most of my serious schooling didn’t have multiple guess test. They were all essay answer only test.

    Top: Nikko Char, ニッコウイワナ, Salvelinus leucomaenis pluvius
    The first valid scientic name of the species was published in 1876 by Hilgendorf.

    Bottom: Yamato Char,ヤマトイワナ, Salvelinus leucomaenis japonicus
    The first valid scientific name of the species was first published in 1961 by Oshima.
    However, another page list 1938 Oshima.

    Why the confusion?
    One page stated the Nikko Char can have defined white spots, with large orange spots, with pale pink spots interspersed. Which is why I initially voted to flip Timmy’s choice.
    However. I also found pictures that identified the fish as a Yamato Char that also had large orange spots.

    These two images tipped the scale.

    Yamato Char ( male) ヤマトイワナ(オス)

    Nikko Char.

    Wikimedia Commons: Category:Salvelinus leucomaenis.

    But then there is this image to add confusion and make the choice a toss up. Labeled as a Nikko Char. But with plenty of orange spots.

    Wikimedia Commons Category: Salvelinus leucomaenis.

    Another image identified the fish as a Yamato Char and it had the bluish/gray color on the tail, which favored labeling the top fish as the Yamato.

    Toss up, without the LEO lineup. : – )

    The colors can vary with the sex of the fish, time of the year too. The picture colors also depend upon the lighting, camera settings and calibration of the computer monitor.
    Which door has the Lady, which door has the Tiger?

    Can I flip my vote before I submit the post? : – 0


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