Rachycentron canadum  (Linnaeus, 1766)

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Image of Rachycentron canadum (Cobia)
Rachycentron canadum
Picture by Marine Conservation Cambodia (MCC)

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes (Perch-likes) > Rachycentridae (Cobia)
Etymology: Rachycentron: Greek, rhachis, -ios = spine + Greek, kentron = sting (Ref. 45335).

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; brackish; reef-associated; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 1200 m (Ref. 9739).   Subtropical; 17°C - 32°C (Ref. 12459); 47°N - 37°S, 98°W - 166°E (Ref. 12459)

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?, range 43 - ? cm
Max length : 200 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 10790); common length : 110 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3487); max. published weight: 68.0 kg (Ref. 7251); max. reported age: 15 years (Ref. 9739)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 7 - 9; Dorsal soft rays (total): 26-33; Anal spines: 2-3; Anal soft rays: 22 - 28. Head broad and depressed. First dorsal fin with short but strong isolated spines, not connected by a membrane. Caudal fin lunate in adults, upper lobe longer than lower. Back and sides dark brown, with 2 sharply defined narrow silvery bands.

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

Worldwide in tropical and subtropical waters, but absent in the eastern Pacific (Ref. 9739, 33390) and the Pacific Plate, except marginally (Ref. 10948). Western Atlantic: Canada (Ref. 5951) to Bermuda and Massachusetts, USA to Argentina (Ref. 7251), including the Gulf of Mexico (Ref. 9626) and entire Caribbean (Ref. 26938). Eastern Atlantic: Morocco to South Africa. Indo-West Pacific: East Africa (Ref. 2871, 5213, 6644, 30573) and Hokkaido, Japan to Australia.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Adults occur in a variety of habitats, over mud, sand and gravel bottoms; over coral reefs, off rocky shores (Ref. 10948) and in mangrove sloughs; inshore around pilings and buoys, and offshore around drifting and stationary objects; occasionally in estuaries (Ref. 9739). Form small groups and may pursue small pelagic inshore (Ref. 48635). Feed on crabs, fishes, and squids (Ref. 5213, 10948, 13442). Form spawning aggregations during the warm months in the western Atlantic; eggs and larvae planktonic (Ref. 12459). Caught in small quantities due to its solitary behavior (Ref. 9626). Good food fish; marketed fresh (Ref. 5284), smoked, and frozen (Ref. 9987). Also caught for sport (Ref. 26938).

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

Form spawning aggregations during the warm months in the western Atlantic; eggs and larvae planktonic (Ref. 12459).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Shaffer, R.V. and E.L. Nakamura, 1989. Synopsis of biological data on the cobia Rachycentron canadum (Pisces: Rachycentridae). NOAA Tech. Rep. NMFS 82, FAO Fisheries Synopsis 153. (Ref. 9739)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans


Human uses

Fisheries: minor commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes
FAO(Aquaculture: production, species profile; fisheries: production; publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

More information

Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
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Swim. type
Gill area


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Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 1.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00457 (0.00315 - 0.00662), b=3.15 (3.05 - 3.25), based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  4.0   ±0.0 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (K=0.09-0.22; tm=2-3; tmax=15).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Moderate vulnerability (44 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   High.