Grayling (species)

Grayling (species)

name = Grayling
status = LR/lc | status_system = IUCN2.3

image_width = 250px
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Actinopterygii
ordo = Salmoniformes
familia = Salmonidae
subfamilia = Thymallinae
genus = "Thymallus"
species = "T. thymallus"
binomial = "Thymallus thymallus"
binomial_authority = (Linnaeus, 1758)
The grayling ("Thymallus thymallus") is a species of freshwater fish in the salmon family (family Salmonidae) of order Salmoniformes. It is the type species of its genus. Native to the Palearctic ecozone, the grayling is widespread throughout northern Europe, from the United Kingdom and France to the Ural Mountains in Russia. While it was introduced to Morocco in 1948, it does not appear to have become established there.


The greyling grows to a maximum recorded length of 60 cm (24 in) and a maximum recorded weight of 6.7 kg (15 lb). Of typical "Thymallus" appearance, the grayling proper is distinguished from the similar Arctic grayling ("T. arcticus arcticus") by the presence of 5–8 dorsal and 3–4 anal spines, which are absent in the other species; "T. thymallus" also has a smaller number of soft rays in these fins. Individuals of the species have been recorded as reaching an age of 14 years.

The grayling prefers cold, clean, running riverine waters, but also occurs in lakes and, exceptionally, in brackish waters around the Baltic Sea. Omnivorous, the fish feeds on vegetable matter as well as crustaceans, insects and spiders, molluscs, zooplankton, and smaller fishes, including Eurasian minnows and yellow perch. Graylings are also prey for larger fish, including the huchen ("Hucho hucho").

With the Arctic grayling, "T. thymallus" is one of the economically important "Thymallus" species, being raised commercially and fished for sport.

The grayling is a protected species listed in appendix III of the Bern Convention.

The term "grayling" is often used to refer generically to the "Thymallus" species, and "T. thymallus" is sometimes called the European grayling for clarity. There are many obsolete synonyms for the species.


The grayling is commonly known as the 'lady of the stream'. She used to be persecuted by anglers for her ability to stop trout colonising stretches of rivers and streams. They are largely a shoal species and therefore can out compete the more individual trout.

In the UK she can be fished for throughout the coarse fishing season (16 June to 14 March), providing thrilling sport on the fly when the trout season is closed. Well known grayling flies include: the grayling witch, klinkhammers, czech nymphs and 'red tags' along with other trout patterns. In France too the season is limited depending upon several factors.

US Navy references

The several United States Navy submarines and patrol boats named USS "Grayling" have presumably been named for the Arctic grayling native to North America rather than this European fish.

See also Grayling Day.


*ITIS|ID=162022|taxon=Thymallus thymallus|year=2004|date=11 December

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