>Like all Pacific salmon that make the transition from saltwater to freshwater and move upstream, Chinook undertake a journey that will end in their death. In the process, salmon bodies undergo dramatic external and internal changes. The reflective silver color of their scales is replaced by bright red and dull green, and their jaws become elongated and hooked. They stop eating, their immune system shuts down, and many of their internal organs are absorbed to provide the energy necessary to get them to their destination. Like zombies, salmon on a spawning run are driven by a singular purpose, and their bodies decay as they pursue this goal. As adult salmon approach their destination, injuries sustained while running a gauntlet of predators and obstacles stop healing, and any infections spread wildly. By the time they have completed spawning, the fish may be missing skin or body parts, covered in wounds, and even coated in a whitish fungus that gives them the appearance of a dead fish swimming. This fungus belongs to the genus Saprolegnia and is a deadly pathogen in salmon. Normally a Chinook’s immune system would prevent the fungus from infecting a wound, but in their “undead” state it consumes them, digesting the fish’s tissue as it spreads. Although their stomachs are long since degraded at this point, these zombie salmon will still strike at bait or prey. This may be due to aggression related to spawning or perhaps is a remnant of the instinct to feed, but either way, fishers can sometimes hook what appears to be a dead salmon that nonetheless puts up a fight.
That's fucking nuts