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Salvelinus is a genus of salmonid fish often called char or charr; some species are called “trout”. Salvelinus is a member of the Salmoninae subfamily of the Salmonidae family. The genus has a northern circumpolar distribution, and most of its members are typically cold-water fish that primarily inhabit fresh waters. Many species also migrate to the sea, however. Most char may be identified by light-cream, pink, or red spots over a darker body. Scales tend to be small, with 115-200 along the lateral line. The pectoral, pelvic, anal, and the lower aspect of caudal fins are trimmed in snow white or cream leading edges.
Many members of this genus are popular sport fish, and a few, such as the lake trout (S. namaycush), are the object of commercial fisheries and aquaculture. Occasionally, such fish escape and become invasive species. Deepwater char are small species of char living below 80 m in the deep areas of certain lakes. They are highly sensitive to changes in the quality of the water and some species, such as Salvelinus neocomensis and Salvelinus profundus, were driven recently to extinction.