Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Scombridae
(Mackerels, tunas, bonitos) > Scombrinae
Etymology: Thunnus: Greek, thynnos = tunna (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; brackish; pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 985 m (Ref. 55291), usually 0 - 100 m. Subtropical; 3°C - 30°C (Ref. 88796); 72°N - 58°S, 99°W - 42°E
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?, range 97 - 110 cm
Max length : 458 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 26340); common length : 200 cm FL male/unsexed; (Ref. 168); max. published weight: 684.0 kg (Ref. 26340); max. reported age: 15 years (Ref. 4645)
(total): 12 - 14;
soft rays: 13 - 16;
Vertebrae: 39. A very large species, deepest near the middle of the first dorsal fin base. The second dorsal fin higher than the first; the pectoral fins are very short, less than 80% of head length. Swim bladder present. Lower sides and belly silvery white with colorless transverse lines alternated with rows of colorless dots. The first dorsal fin is yellow or bluish; the second reddish-brown; the anal fin and finlets dusky yellow and edged with black; the median caudal keel is black in adults. May be confused with several other tunas, these are typically much smaller and easily distinguished by specific patterns of stripes, bands or dots.
Western Atlantic: Labrador and Newfoundland to Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea to Venezuela and Brazil. Eastern Atlantic: Lofoten Islands off Norway to Canary Islands, including the Mediterranean and the southern part of the Black Sea (Ref. 6769). Reported from Mauritania (Ref. 5377). There is a subpopulation off South Africa. Highly migratory species, Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (Ref. 26139).
Oceanic but seasonally coming close to shore. They school by size, sometimes together with albacore, yellowfin, bigeye, skipjack etc. Visual predators (Ref. 88866) preying on small schooling fishes (anchovies, sauries, hakes) or on squids and red crabs. Live up to 40 years in the western Atlantic (Ref. 88822). Weight up to 900 kg (Ref. 88823). Eggs and larvae are pelagic (Ref. 6769). Juvenile growth is rapid (about 30 cm / year) but slower than in other tuna and billfish species (Ref. 88867). Adult growth is considerably slower, with about 10 years needed to reach two thirds of maximum length. Commercially cultured in Japan. Utilized fresh for sashimi, also canned (Ref. 9988). Become rare because of massive overfishing (Ref. 35388).
Collette, B.B., 1999. Mackerels, molecules, and morphology. p. 149-164. In B. Séret and J.-Y. Sire (eds.) Proc. 5th Indo-Pac. Fish Conf., Noumea, Paris.
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes
Estimates of some properties based on empirical models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5039 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01580 (0.01259 - 0.01984), b=3.02 (2.98 - 3.06), based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.4 ±0.8 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (K=0.05-0.06; tm=3-5; tmax=15; Fec=10 million).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Very high vulnerability (82 of 100) .