Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Scombriformes
(Mackerels) > Scombridae
(Mackerels, tunas, bonitos) > Scombrinae
Etymology: Scomber: Greek, skombros = tunny or mackerel, 1623 (Ref. 45335); japonicus: Named after Japan, its type locality (Ref. 6885)
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; pelagic-neritic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range - 300 m (Ref. 168), usually 50 - 200 m (Ref. 35185). Subtropical; 10°C - 27°C (Ref. 35185); 60°N - 48°S, 116°E - 70°W
Indo-Pacific: anti-tropical, absent from the Indian Ocean except for South Africa, KZN to Western Cape (58304).
Reports from Atlantic incl. Mediterranean are Scomber colias, and from Red Sea and northern Indian Ocean are Scomber australasicus (Ref. 27328).
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 26.1  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 64.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9015); common length : 30.0 cm FL male/unsexed; (Ref. 168); max. published weight: 2.9 kg (Ref. 26550); max. reported age: 18 years (Ref. 35185)
(total): 9 - 11;
soft rays: 12 - 14;
Vertebrae: 31. Interpelvic process small and single. No well developed corselet. Swim bladder present. First haemal spine posterior to first interneural process; 12 to 15 interneural bones under first dorsal fin. Anal fin spine conspicuous, clearly separated from anal rays but joined to them by a membrane. Back with narrow stripes which zigzag and undulate. Belly unmarked (Pacific population) or with wavy lines (Atlantic pop.) (Ref. 168). Caudal peduncle with 5 finlets on the upper and lower edge. Distance between dorsal fins shorter than or equal to the first dorsal fin base (Ref. 35388).
A coastal pelagic species, to a lesser extent epipelagic to mesopelagic over the continental slope (Ref. 168). Schooling by size is well developed and initiates at approximately 3 cm (Ref. 168); may also form schools with Sarda chiliensis, Trachurus symmetricus and Sardinops sagax (Ref. 9340). Adults stay near the bottom during the day; go up to the open water at night, (Ref. 5377) where they feed on copepods and other crustaceans, fishes and squids (Ref. 168). They spawn in batches (Ref. 51846). Eggs and larvae are pelagic (Ref. 6769). In Asian waters, they move to deeper water and remain inactive during the winter season (Ref. 4576). Commercially cultured in Japan. Marketed fresh, frozen, smoked, salted and occasionally canned (Ref. 9684). Eaten fried, broiled and baked (Ref. 9988). Used in Chinese medicine (Ref. 12166).
Spawning most often occurs at water temperatures of 15° to 20°C. Spawn in several batches with 250 to 300 eggs per g of fish with the total number of eggs per female ranging from 100,000 to 400,000.
Collette, B.B. and C.E. Nauen, 1983. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 2. Scombrids of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of tunas, mackerels, bonitos and related species known to date. Rome: FAO. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(2):137 p. (Ref. 168)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 124695)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: highly commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes; bait: usually
Estimates based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 9.3 - 27.7, mean 20.7 °C (based on 1526 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5625 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00759 (0.00679 - 0.00847), b=3.05 (3.02 - 3.08), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 3.4 ±0.1 se; based on diet studies.
Generation time: 3.6 (3.1 - 4.8) years. Estimated as median ln(3)/K based on 25 growth studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.12-0.22; tm=2-3; tmax=18).
Prior r = 0.48, 95% CL = 0.32 - 0.73, Based on 3 stock assessments.
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low to moderate vulnerability (34 of 100) .
Nutrients (Ref. 124155
): Calcium = 43.1 [14.7, 139.6] mg/100g ; Iron = 2.62 [1.07, 6.35] mg/100g ; Protein = 20.6 [19.8, 21.5] % ; Omega3 = 0.397 [0.273, 0.574] g/100g ; Selenium = 93.7 [41.3, 218.6] μg/100g ; VitaminA = 11.6 [2.6, 51.2] μg/100g ; Zinc = 1.01 [0.59, 1.67] mg/100g (wet weight); based on nutrient studies.