Striped marlinMLS

Length unknown

Characteristic features:

    • 2 keels on either side of caudal peduncle
    • First dorsal fin not sail-like and anterior part taller than maximum body depth
    • Pelvic fins narrow and long, but not reaching to near anus
    • Pectoral fins leaf shaped and flexible, able to be folded against body
    • Second dorsal fin slightly posterior to second anal fin
    • Flesh distinctively orange
  • Lateral line mostly straight with a curve above base of pectoral fin (not always visible in fish >80 kg)


Upper surfaces bluish black, silver below; about 15–20 conspicuous bright blue vertical stripes, each consisting of narrow bands and/or dots. First dorsal fin bluish black, other fins usually dark brown. Colours fade after death and as condition is lost.


To 420 cm TL and up to 224.1 kg.1


Circumglobal in tropical and temperate waters.

View FAO distribution map


Epi- and mesopelagic, oceanic. Recorded from surface to nearly 300 m depth. Inhabits cooler water than black marlin or blue marlin.


Highly migratory, mostly solitary, only forming small schools during spawning season. Feeds on a variety of fishes, cephalopods, and crustaceans. Size at 50% maturity is estimated at 210 cm LJFL for females and 167 cm LJFL for males in the South-west Pacific.2 Maximum age estimates range from 6 to 12 years.3,4,5

Indonesian fisheries:

Caught predominantly by longlining and set netting, but also by gill netting.

Similar species:

Istiompax indica
Black marlin
Istiompax indica differs in having pectoral fins which are sickle/curved in shape (vs. leaf-like) and are rigid, unable to be folded against the sides of body (vs. flexible, able to be folded against sides of body); anterior portion of first dorsal fin about half of body depth in height (vs. equal to, or greater than body depth); first dorsal-fin tip slightly rounded (vs. pointed); second dorsal fin slightly anterior to second anal fin (vs. second dorsal fin slightly posterior to second anal fin); and flesh pinkish white or greyish (vs. orange).
Istiophorus platypterus
Istiophorus platypterus differs in having a first dorsal fin continuous and sail like, taller than maximum body depth along almost its entire length, tallest at its mid-fin (vs. anterior portion tall, equal to or greater than maximum body depth, posterior portion low) and long pelvic fins, almost reaching the anus (vs. short, ending well forward of the anus).
Makaira nigricans
Blue marlin
Makaira nigricans
Makaira nigricans differs in having pectoral fins which are strap-like in shape (vs. leaf like); height of anterior portion of first dorsal fin lower than maximum body depth (vs. equal to or greater than body depth) and flesh pinkish white to greyish in colour (vs. orange).
Tetrapturus angustirostris
Shortbill spearfish
tetrapturus angustirostris
Tetrapturus angustirostris differs in having a bill that is only marginally longer than the lower jaw (vs. considerably longer); an anus slightly anterior to first anal fin by a distance of less than length of first anal-fin base (vs. well anterior by a distance greater than length of first anal-fin base) and a nape low and flat (vs. steep).
Xiphias gladius (Xiphiidae)
Broadbill swordfish
Xiphias gladius differs in having a bill that is flat-oval in cross section (vs. round); pelvic fins absent (vs. present); 1 median keel on caudal peduncle (vs. 2 keels) and a deep notch on both upper and lower profiles on caudal peduncle (vs. shallow notches).

External links:

The IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM


IGFA. IGFA world record game fishes. International Game Fish Association Dania Beach, Florida. 2011;
Kopf R, Davie P, Bromhead D, Young J. Reproductive biology and spatiotemporal patterns of spawning in striped marlin Kajikia audax. Journal of Fish Biology. 2012;81(6):1834–58.
Skillman RA, Young MYY. Von Bertalanffy growth curves for striped marlin, Tetrapturus audax, and blue marlin, Makaira nigricans, in the central North Pacific Ocean. Fishery Bulletin. 1976;74(3.1976):553.
Kopf R, Davie P, Holdsworth J. Size trends and population characteristics of striped marlin, Tetrapturus audax caught in the New Zealand recreational fishery. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. 2005;39(5):1145–56.
Kopf RK, Davie PS, Bromhead D, Pepperell JG. Age and growth of striped marlin (Kajikia audax) in the Southwest Pacific Ocean. ICES Journal of Marine Science. 2011;68(9):1884–95.