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A SplatNet 3 wallpaper of multiple Salmonids.

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 Salmonid band whose music plays throughout runs. Additionally, the Smallfry comprising Fish Sticks sing an encouraging chant during runs.

Many 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 pot lids and soup ladles. Salmonids are an honorable clan; fighting for their clan's pride is seen as an important value. They take care to keep their weapons 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 the Salmonids' choice of weapons is due to them trying to make themselves look "tasty". It was also explained that the Salmonids are not afraid of dying and regard their death to be a cycle of life of which all life is a part. 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 the 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. There are also floating food-based sculptures in the background of Salmon Run stages, which were built by the Salmonids to symbolize these beliefs.

The Salmonids and the Octarians have a trade agreement with each other, in which the Salmonids provide Power Eggs used as energy sources in exchange for Octarian weapons and machinery[6][7] such as Gushers and the vehicles of Slammin' Lids.[8] However, the Salmonids do not trade their Golden Eggs as they consider them too precious.[7]

In rare cases where young Smallfry are separated from their schools, their appetites increase drastically as they attempt to return to their original schools' waters.[2] In Splatoon 3's single-player mode Return of the Mammalians, the player character Agent 3 is accompanied by a particular Smallfry that is implied to have been separated from its school and has seemingly traveled alongside Agent 3 for some time, developing a friendly relationship with them.

Types of Salmonid

Lesser Salmonids

Boss Salmonids

Known Occurrence-specific Salmonids

King Salmonids


Lesser Salmonids

Boss Salmonids

Occurence-specific Salmonids



  • Salmonids appear to take inspiration from North American Northwest Coast First Nations cultures, salmon being a staple and cultural food in those regions.[9]
    • Many of the Salmonid illustrations (such as in the Salmon Run logo, on decals and banners in Grizzco's shop, and in Salmon Run stages) are based on the style of NWC traditional artistry, particularly formline art, using many visual motifs and techniques that distinguish it, such as limited, contrasted colors, thick pointed linework, ovoids, S & U forms, and specific characteristic ways of depicting eyes, teeth, and fins.[10][11]
    • Traditionally, in NWC culture (and generally in many North American first nations cultures), hunted food, particularly salmon, are seen as giving themselves to be eaten in the cycle of life and death.[12][9][13] Salmonids, as stated in art books and other official media, share these beliefs, having a desire to be killed and eaten as part of a cycle of life, which is the reason for their common usage of kitchenware.
  • The Salmonids' willingness to die may be based on how salmon partaking in 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.
    • This may also take inspiration from the Spartans, a warrior city-state that valued dying for Sparta in combat. The Salmonids' hair resembles a Spartan helmet.
  • The Salmonids' appearance resembles that of a salmon when it is in its ocean phase, which differs from its spawning phase, where it turns a more vibrant red, adopting brown and gray 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 that use frying pans as their weapons, namely Chums, Cohocks, and Goldies, all have two variations of the frying pan they can wield. One variant of the frying pan has an emblem resembling a Salmonid, a metal handle, a smoother shape, and circular rings on the pan, while the other lacks these features and has a wooden handle.
  • Smallfry respawns after being splatted in Return of the Mammalians with the same audio cue as when Inklings and Octolings respawn, 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, includes salmon and trout.

Names in other languages

Translation needed
The section or page is missing non-English translations or material from other localizations edit
Language Name Meaning
Japan Japanese シャケ
Netherlands Dutch Salmoniet Salmonoid
CanadaFrance French Salmonoïde Salmonid
Germany German Salmonide Salmonid
Italy Italian Salmonoide Salmonoid
Russia Russian Самонид
SpainMexico Spanish Salmónido Salmonid
China Chinese 鮭魚[14]
Portugal Portuguese Salmonídeo Salmonoid
 Internal CoopEnemy[15] In reference to Salmon Run being a co-op mode