grayling, common name for a brilliantly colored fish belonging to the genus Thymallus, of the family Salmonidae ( salmon family), and closely allied to the smelt. Graylings are found chiefly in clear, cold, fresh waters of the Northern Hemisphere. They average 1 ft (30 cm) in length and 1 lb (.45 kg) in weight and exhibit hues of silver, gold, violet, blue, and olive brown. The arctic grayling, which can reach more than 8 lb (3.6 kg), was found in Michigan and Montana as well as Canada, Alaska, and Siberia, but the Michigan population is now extinct. The genus name, Thymallus, refers to the odor of wild thyme characteristic of the delicious flesh of fresh specimens. Graylings are classified in the phylum Chordata , subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Salmoniformes, family Salmonidae, subfamily Thymallinae.
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