Makaira nigricans  Lacepède, 1802

Blue marlin
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Makaira nigricans
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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)
Etymology: Makaira: Greek,makaira, -as = happy, rich (Ref. 45335).   More on author: Lacepède.

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; pelagic-oceanic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 200 m (Ref. 43).   Subtropical; 22°C - 31°C (Ref. 43); 50°N - 45°S, 98°W - 17°E (Ref. 43)

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?, range 50 - ? cm
Max length : 500 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 11441); 500.0 cm TL (female); common length : 290 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 6659); max. published weight: 636.0 kg (Ref. 40637); max. published weight: 636.0 kg

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 45-50; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 19 - 23. Body blue-black above and silvery white below, with about 15 rows of pale cobalt-colored stripes; 1st dorsal fin plain blackish or dark blue, other fins brown black with a tinge of dark blue in some specimens; anal fin bases with a tinge of silvery white. Lateral line a network of interconnecting canals (Ref. 26938).

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

Atlantic Ocean: in tropical and temperate waters. We follow Nakamura 1985 (Ref. 43) in recognizing Makaira mazara and Makaira nigricans as two distinct species chiefly because of differences in the pattern of the lateral line system. Many scientists, however, do not recognize this character as specifically diagnostic and consider the latter species as a single pantropical species occurring in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. Highly migratory species, Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (Ref. 26139).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Oceanic species. Water color affects its occurrence, at least in the northern Gulf of Mexico, where the fish show preference for blue water. Rarely gathers in schools and usually found as scattered single individuals. Feeds mainly on fishes but also preys on octopods and squids. Marketed fresh or frozen (Ref. 43). Feeding takes place during daytime. Maturity reached at about 80 cm in males and 50 cm in females (Ref. 36731). Females grow larger (Ref. 4770).

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

Subripe ova are opaque, white to yellow, and 0.3 to 0.5 mm in diameter. Transparent spherical eggs flowing out of a ripe ovary measured 1 mm in diameter.

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)

  Vulnerable (VU) (A2bd)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Harmless




Human uses

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

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Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.7505   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00427 (0.00254 - 0.00717), b=3.12 (2.97 - 3.27), based on LWR estimates for species & (Sub)Family-body shape (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  4.5   ±0.3 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.1-0.3).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Moderate to high vulnerability (52 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   High.