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Istiompax indica  (Cuvier, 1832)

Black marlin
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| Native range | All suitable habitat | Year 2100 |
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Istiompax indica   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Istiompax indica (Black marlin)
Istiompax indica
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Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes (Perch-likes) > Istiophoridae (Billfishes)

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 915 m (Ref. 43), usually 0 - 200 m (Ref. 43).   Subtropical; 15°C - 30°C (Ref. 43); 44°N - 47°S, 18°E - 69°W (Ref. 43)

Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 465 cm FL male/unsexed; (Ref. 40637); common length : 380 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 30573); max. published weight: 750.0 kg (Ref. 5503)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 39-50; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 16 - 21. Body elongate and not very compressed; upper jaw produced into a robust but not very long beak; two dorsal fins, the height of the first less then the greatest body depth, becoming shorter posteriorly; pectoral fins falcate and rigid, with 19 to 20 rays; body densely covered with small, embedded scales with 1 or 2 sharp points; back dark blue; belly silvery white; membrane of first dorsal fin blue black, without spots; flanks without spots (Ref. 55763). Dark blue above, silvery white below; sometimes with light blue vertical stripes; 1st dorsal fin blackish to dark blue, other fins dark brown with tinges of dark blue in some specimens.

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Indo-Pacific: tropical and subtropical waters, occasionally entering temperate waters. Stray individuals migrate into the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Cape of Good Hope, but the existence of Atlantic breeding stocks is unlikely. Highly migratory species, Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (Ref. 26139).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Oceanic, usually found in surface waters above the thermocline, often near shore close to land masses, islands and coral reefs. Feed on fishes, squids, cuttlefishes, octopods, large decapod crustaceans and mostly on small tunas when abundant (Ref. 9668). The flesh is of good quality; marketed refrigerated or frozen and prepared as sashimi in Japan (Ref. 9308). Also Ref. 9692.

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Believed to prefer water temperatures around 27° to 28°C during spawning. Egg counts of ripe roe totaled about 40 million per female.

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Nakamura, I., 1985. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 5. Billfishes of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of marlins, sailfishes, spearfishes and swordfishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(5):65p. Rome: FAO. (Ref. 43)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Harmless




Human uses

Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes
FAO(fisheries: production; publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 1.0005   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00447 (0.00211 - 0.00945), b=3.13 (2.94 - 3.32), based on LWR estimates for species & (Sub)Family-body shape (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  4.5   ±0.8 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.47(?); Fec=67 million; assuming tm>2).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Moderate vulnerability (44 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Very high.