- 2 keels on either side of caudal peduncle
- First dorsal fin not sail-like, anterior portion about 2/3 height of body depth
- Pelvic fins narrow and long, but not reaching to near anus
- Pectoral fins strap-like and flexible, able to be folded against body
- Second dorsal fin posterior to second anal fin
- Flesh pinkish white or greyish
- Lateral line looped (only visible on underside of skin if cleaned and dried)
Upper surfaces blue, silvery white below; about 15 vertical bars along sides of body. First dorsal fin bluish black, other fins dark brown. Colours fading after death as condition is lost.
To 500 cm TL and up to 630 kg in weight.1
Circumglobal in tropical waters, the most tropical of all the billfishes.
Pelagic in oceanic waters, found from the surface to depths of at least 1,000 m and within surface temperatures between 22 and 31°C.
Feeds on tuna-like fishes, crustaceans, and cephalopods. Smaller individuals form schools consisting of about 10 individuals whilst larger individuals tend to be solitary.2 The range of Makaira nigricans changes seasonally, expanding away from the equator northwards and southwards in the warmer months and contracting back towards the equator during colder months. Mature at 179 and 130 cm EFL for females and males, respectively, in the Western Pacific.3 Age at first maturity in the South Atlantic was estimated at 184.9 cm LJFL for sexes combined;4 maximum age estimated to be at least 27 and 18 years for females and males respectively.5
Caught by longline and purse seine, and probably also by gill nets and trolling.