Blue marlinBUM

 
Makaira nigricans
Length unknown

Characteristic features:

    • 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)
  • Colour:

    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.

    Size:

    To 500 cm TL and up to 630 kg in weight.1

    Distribution:

    Circumglobal in tropical waters, the most tropical of all the billfishes.

    View FAO distribution map

    Habitat:

    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.

    Biology:

    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

    Indonesian fisheries:

    Caught by longline and purse seine, and probably also by gill nets and trolling.

    Similar species:

    Makaira indica
    Black marlin
    Makaira indica differs in having the anterior portion of the first dorsal fin about half body depth in height (vs. about 2/3 of body depth in height); pectoral fins curved like half sickle (vs. strap-like); aerofoil in cross section (vs. flat); rigid, unable to be folded against side of body (vs. flexible, able to be folded against sides of body) and second dorsal fin slightly anterior to second anal fin (vs. second dorsal fin slightly posterior to second dorsal fin).

     

    Istiophorus platypterus
    Sailfish
    Istiophorus platypterus differs in having first dorsal fin sail-like and continuous, taller than maximum body depth along the majority of its length, tallest at mid-fin (vs. about 2/3 of body depth in height) and pelvic fin rays very long, almost reaching anus (vs. shorter, ending well forward of anus).

     

    Kajikia audax
    Striped marlin
    Kajikia audax differs in having the height of the anterior portion of the first dorsal fin about equal to, or just less than body depth (vs. about 2/3 body depth in height); pectoral-fin leaf shaped (vs. strap-like) and flesh orange (vs. pinkish white or greyish).

     

    Tetrapturus angustirostris
    Shortbill spearfish
    tetrapturus angustirostris
    Tetrapturus angustirostris differs in having the anterior portion of the first dorsal fin taller than maximum body depth in height (vs. about 2/3 of body depth in height); bill short, only slightly longer than lower jaw (vs. long) and an anus well forward of first anal fin (vs. just before first anal fin).

     

    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:

    FishBase
    The IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM

    References

    1.
    IGFA. Database of IGFA angling records until 2001. IGFA Fort Lauderdale, USA; 2001.
    2.
    Nakamura I. FAO Fisheries catalogue Vol. 5. Billfishes of the world: An annotated and illustrated catalogue of marlins, sailfishes, spearfishes and swordfishes known to date. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; 1985.
    3.
    Sun C-L, Chang Y-J, Tszeng C-C, Yeh S-Z. Reproductive biology of blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) in the western Pacific Ocean. Fishery Bulletin. 2009;107(4):420–32.
    4.
    Frédou T, Frédou FL, Hazin FHV, Travassos P. Length composition and spatio-temporal distribution of blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) in the South Atlantic Ocean. Collect Vol Sci Pap ICCAT. 2012;68(4):1524–30.
    5.
    Hill KT, Cailliet GM, Radtke RL. A comparative analysis of growth zones in four calcified structures of pacific blue marlin, Makaim. Fishery bulletin. 1989;87(4).