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Size comparison of every Salmonid to the player

The Salmonids are a species of amphibious salmon and the main antagonists and enemies of the Salmon Run mode in Splatoon 2 and Splatoon 3. Their main ink color is dark green in Splatoon 2 and dark teal in Splatoon 3.

Biology and culture

Boss Salmonids and Lesser Salmonids constitute the same species. What appearance young Salmonids will reach in maturity is determined by the environment they are raised in. Those who are raised in a harsher environment become Boss Salmonids. Steelheads and Maws have bigger bodies, while Scrappers and Steel Eels have higher intelligence. Some Boss Salmonids, such as Flyfish and Fish Sticks, consist of Lesser Salmonids that have gone through specific training.

Salmonids regularly return in large numbers from their habitat to where they spawned[1] with the young ones doing so in order to mature[2], a behavior called a Salmon Run. For them, music signifies the start of such runs, and they play it to raise morale. The best performers from a tribe form a band of three to five members[3], and bands that are perceived as the very best earn the title "Omega".[4] ω-3 is a notable all-Salmonid band whose music plays throughout runs. Additionally, the Smallfry comprising Fish Sticks sing a war chant during runs.

Most Salmonids use cooking utensils as weapons during battle; Chums and Cohocks use frying pans, Smallfry use spoons, Grillers are charcoal grills, Stingers use a stack of cooking pots, Flyfish and Chinooks use beverage coolers, and Slammin' Lids use soup ladles. Salmonids are an honorable clan; fighting for their clan's pride is seen as equally precious as their values. They take care of keeping their weapon in great shape. Their frying pans, as well as other weapons they wield, are passed down from generation to generation.[5]

In a developer interview,[6] it was revealed that this is due to the Salmonids trying to make themselves look "tasty". It’s explained that the Salmonids aren’t afraid of dying and regard their death to be a cycle of life and think of all life being part of this cycle. Grillers are said to be the ultimate way of doing so by the Salmonids becoming the contents of the Griller. When the Salmonids fight to death, they feel a sense of unity with themselves and the world. When they are eaten by other creatures, they see their death as a way of being one with the world.

They have a trade agreement with the Octarians, where the Salmonids provide Power Eggs used as energy sources in exchange for Octarian weapons and machinery.[6][7] Golden Eggs are considered too precious to Salmonids, and they don't trade them.[7] Gushers and Slammin' Lids are noted as being pieces of Octarian technology.[8] Scrappers' car honk tune is a remix of the Turquoise October's song Onward!, suggesting those vehicles are a part of Octarian technology as well.

In rare cases where young Smallfry are separated from their school, their appetites increase dramatically as they attempt to return to their original school's waters.[2]

There are floating sculptures based off of cooking utensils in the background of Salmon Run stages, some of which also feature food such as vegetables. These are likely built by the Salmonids, symbolizing their goal of being delicious to eat.[Citation needed]

In Splatoon 3's single-player mode Return of the Mammalians the player character Agent 3 is accompanied by a friendly Smallfry that has seemingly traveled alongside them for some unspecified time. Li'l buddy can be thrown as a unique Sub weapon in overworld areas as well as certain missions, during which it is eager to be fed Power Eggs. It responds to certain Signals and is capable of eating Fuzzy Ooze after having been fed large amounts of Power Eggs. Sunken Scroll 8 suggests this Smallfry was separated from its group during a run, lending to its increased appetite, and it travels alongside Agent 3 in order to return to its original home.

Types of Salmonid

Lesser Salmonids

Boss Salmonids

Occurrence-specific Salmonids

King Salmonids


Lesser Salmonids

Boss Salmonids

Event-specific Salmonids



  • Salmonids are heavily based on North American Northwest Coast First Nations cultures, salmon being a staple food in those regions.[9]
    • Many of the Salmonid illustrations (I.E. in the title, sold in Grizzco's shop, on maps) are in the style of NWC traditional art, using many visual motifs typical of NWC art, such as limited, contrasted colors, thick, pointed linework to create the overall shape, and specific ways of illustrating eyes, teeth and fins.[10][11]
    • Traditionally, in NWC culture (generally in many North American first nations cultures) hunted food, particularly fish, are seen as giving themselves to be eaten.[12][9][13] In Splatoon, Salmonids have the same beliefs, this being the basis for their designs and lore.
  • The Salmonids' hair looks like a Spartan helmet. The Spartans were a warrior city-state that valued dying for Sparta in combat.
  • The Salmonids which use a frying pan as their weapon, consisting of the Chum, Cohock and Goldie, all have two variations of the frying pan. One variant of the frying pan has an emblem resembling a Salmonid, a metal handle, a smoother shape and circular rings on the pan. The other variant lacks these features while having a wooden handle.
  • Lesser Salmonids may make upward jumps of unlimited heights to splat players staying on walls for too long.
  • The Salmonids' appearance resembles that of a salmon when it is in its spawning phase, which differs from ocean phase, where it turns more vibrant red, adopting brown and grey colors instead of the silvery color, and has a more elongated jaw that hooks downwards with bigger teeth. Some species also get hunched backs.
  • The Salmonids willingness to die may be based on how salmon partaking the salmon run die after spawning. The dying salmon play an important role in providing nutrients to life surrounding it, which may also be what the Salmonids' belief of "becoming one with the world" is based on.
  • Smallfry respawns after being splatted in Return of the Mammalians with the same audio cue as Inklings and Octolings' respawning, but whether or not the Salmonids encountered during Salmon Run are also capable of doing so is unclear.


"Salmonid" is the common name for the ray-finned fish family Salmonidae, which among others, include salmon.

Names in other languages


Language Name Meaning
Japan Japanese シャケ
Netherlands Dutch Salmoniet Salmonoid
Canada and France French Salmonoïde Salmonid
Germany German Salmonide Salmonid
Italy Italian Salmonoide Salmonid
Russia Russian Самонид
Spain Spanish Salmónido Salmonid
China Chinese 鮭魚[14]
Portugal Portuguese Salmonídeo Salmonoid
Translate logo.svg Internal CoopEnemy[15] In reference to Salmon Run being co-op mode

Lesser Salmonid

Language Name Meaning
Japan Japanese ザコシャケ
Zako shake
Small-fish salmon
Netherlands Dutch Gewone Salmoniet Regular Salmonid
Canada and France French Salmonoïde commun Common Salmonid
Germany German Standard-Salmonid Standard Salmonid
Italy Italian Salmonoide comune Common Salmonid
Russia Russian Обычный самонид
Obychnyy samonid
Average Salmonid
Spain Spanish (NOE) Salmónido menor Small Salmonid
China Chinese 小鲑鱼
Xiǎo guīyú
Small Salmonid