Family : Billfishes ; Oceanic species. Water color affects its occurrence, at least in the northern Gulf of Mexico, where the fish show preference for blue water . Rarely gathers in schools and usually found as scattered single individuals. Feeds mainly on fishes but also preys on octopods and squids . Marketed fresh or frozen. Feeding takes place during daytime. Maturity reached at about 80 cm in males (40 kg ) and 50 cm in females (55 kg).
Click on the language to view common names.
Common Names in Afrikaans:
Common Names in Bikol:
Big-Ho´, Big-Ho', Layag, Olob
Common Names in Carolinian:
Common Names in Creole, French:
Common Names in Creole, Portuguese:
Common Names in Danish:
Atlantisk Bl, Bl
Common Names in Dutch:
Common Names in English:
Atlantic Blue Marlin, Blue Marlin, Billfish, Cuban Black Marlin, Marlin, Ocean Gar, Ocean Guard
Common Names in Finnish:
Common Names in French:
Empereur, Empereur Bleu, Espadon, Makaire Bleu, Makaire Bleu De L'atlantique, Marlin Bleu
Common Names in German:
Common Names in Hawaiian:
Common Names in Italian:
Augghia ´mperiali, Augghia 'mperiali, Marlin Azzurro, Marlin Blu
Common Names in Japanese:
Makajiki, Nishikuro, Nishikurokajiki
Common Names in Korean:
Common Names in Mandarin Chinese:
Common Names in Norwegian:
Common Names in Other:
Common Names in Palauan:
Common Names in Polish:
Common Names in Portuguese:
Agulh, Espadarte, Espadarte-Preto, Espadarte-Sombra, Espadim, Espadim Azul, Espadim-Azul, Espadim-Azul Do Atl, Espadim-Azul Do Atlântico, Espadim-Azul-Do-Atl, Espadim-Azul-Do-Atlântico, Espadium Azul, Espadium Azul Do Atlantico, Marlim-Azul, Marlim-Azul Do Atl, Marlin, Merlim, Peito, Peixe Agulha, Peixe-Agulha, Peto
Common Names in Rumanian:
Common Names in Russian:
Chernyi Marlin, Goluboi Marlin
Common Names in Samoan:
Common Names in Spanish:
Marl?n Azul, Abanico, Aguja, Aguja Azul, Aguja Azul Del Atlantico, Aguja Casta, Aguja Negra, Castero, Marl, Marlin, Marlin Negro, Merlin Rayado, Palagar, Pez Zuncho, Picudo Blanco, Picudo Rollizo, Prieta, Voladora
Common Names in Swahili:
Common Names in Swedish:
Bl, Blue Marlin
Common Names in Tokelauan:
Species Makaira nigricans
Distinctive Features: The blue marlin is the largest billfish
upper jaw forms a large bill. The body is cylindrical from anal fin
forward. Two dorsal fins are present; the first dorsal fin is high
steeply posteriorly, while the second is small. The caudal
peduncle has keels. The lateral line forms a large net-like pattern
of hexagons canvasing the sides of the fish. The pelvic fins are
slender. The lateral keels
on the caudal peduncle assist in making
this fish a powerful swimmer of great speed
and stamina. Grooves
for the pelvic fins improve hydrodynamics.
Coloration : The body is dark blue dorsally , shading to a silvery white ventrally. On the body there are 15 vertical rows of blue spots on the side, on a background of blue to silvery white.
Size, Age, and Growth: The blue marlin can reach a length of 14 feet (4.3 m ) and a weight of one ton (910 kg ). Females are generally much larger than males. IGFA lists separate records for Atlantic and Pacific blue marlin. The all-tackle record for the Atlantic is 1402 lb 2 oz (636 kg); the all-tackle record for the Pacific is 1376 lb (624.14 kg).
Occurring offshore in blue oceanic waters, the blue marlin prefers to stay in the warm waters near the surface, above the thermocline. They follow the seasonal water temperature changes, being closely tied to these warm waters. They are found in ocean waters great distances from the continents as well as coastal regions near deep waters , such as near the Mississippi River in the Gulf of Mexico.
Typically found in water with a depth of 0 to -5,685 meters (0 to -18,652 feet).
This epipelagic and oceanic species is mostly confined to the waters
on the warmer side of the 24°C surface isotherm
and known to undergo
seasonal north-south migrations. It is found to 1,000 m
spends the highest percentage of its time at shallower depths, and
is not usually seen close to land
masses or islands, unless there
is a deep drop-off
of the shelf. This species can dive as deep as
1,000 m, but it remains mostly within the upper 40 m.
It is believed
to form small-scale schools of at most 10 individuals. Larger fish
tend to swim
solitarily (Nakamura 1985) but smaller ones form aggregations.
It feeds on squids , tuna-like fishes , crustaceans, and cephalopods (Nakamura 1985). Spawning probably takes place year-round in equatorial waters to 10°N/S and during summer periods in both hemispheres to 30°N/S, in both the Indian and Pacific oceans (Kailola et al. 1993). In the southern hemisphere, concentrations of spawning fish probably occur around French Polynesia (Howard and Ueyanagi 1965). In Brazil, spawning occurs February to March from 20–23°S, primarily in the Abrolhos Archipelago (Amorim et al. 1998). Most of the individuals captured at this location have been juveniles (Amorim pers. comm. 2010).
Maximum time at large recorded is 11 years (Ortiz et al. 2003). Maximum age is estimated to be at least 20 years (Wilson et al. 1991). Maximum age is estimated in the Pacific as 27 years (females) and 18 years (males) (Hill et al. 1989). Age estimation in marlins is problematic and longevity information from the Pacific has also been applied to the Atlantic. Age at maturity is estimated to be two years (Prince et al. 1991, Torres-Silva et al. 2006). Using longevity estimates of 20 years and 27 years, and age of maturity of two years, the generation length was estimated to be between 4.5–6 years. The generation length is calculated as: age of first reproduction + z * (longevity - age of first maturity), where z is 0.15 (Collette et al. 2011).
The all-tackle game fish record is of a 636-kg fish caught off Vitoria, Brazil in 1992 (IGFA 2011)..
List of Habitats :
- 9 Marine Neritic
- 9.1 Marine Neritic - Pelagic
- 10 Marine Oceanic
- 10.1 Marine Oceanic - Epipelagic (0-200m) [more info]
Primarily near-surface pelagic fishes such as mackerels , tunas , and dolphin fishes are preyed upon by the blue marlin. Squids , and the occasional deep sea fish have been noted in the stomachs of blue marlin. Considerable disagreement among researchers exists over whether or not the bill is used during feeding. It is believed by some to be used to stun prey with a swift lateral strike or strikes. The blue marlin is capable of consuming prey of relatively large proportions. Blue marlin are not known to feed at night.
Spawning is known to occur near Cuba between May and November. Egg hatching is dependent upon temperature , but likely occurs well within a week. A single spawning produces millions of eggs each 1 mm in diameter, opaque white or yellow in color. Larvae are blue-black on the sides and dorsal surface, white ventrally. The caudal peduncle and caudal fin are clear. The head has two iridescent blue patches. Some individuals have darker spots along the back. The first dorsal fin in juveniles is very large and concave , gradually reducing in proportion to body size as growth continues.
: Predators of the blue marlin include the white shark
carcharias) and shortfin mako (Isurus oxyrhinchus).
Parasites: Although the blue marlin is well-studied, only 28 species of parasites have been reported worldwide from this fish. Parasites include digenea (flukes ), didymozoidea (tissue flukes), monogenea (gillworms), cestoda (tapeworms ), nematoda (roundworms), acanthocephala (spiny-headed worms), copepods , barnacles, and fish such as remoras (Remora sp. ) and the cookie-cutter shark (Isistius brasiliensis) which is known to take bites out of the flesh of marlins.
Eumakaira nigra • Histiophorus herschelii • Histiophorus herschelii (Gray • Istiompax howardi • Istiompax mazara • Maikaira nigricans • Maikaira nigricans Lacepède • Makaira ampla • Makaira ampla (Poey • Makaira ampla ampla • Makaira ampla ampla (Poey • Makaira ampla mazara • Makaira bermudae • Makaira bermudae Mowbray • Makaira ensis • Makaira herschelii • Makaira herschelii (Gray • Makaira nigricans ampla (Poey • Makaira nigricans nigricans Lacepède • Makaira perezi de Buen • Orthocraeros bermudae (Mowbray • Tetrapturus amplus Poey • Tetrapturus herschelii Gray
Status: Accepted Name
Last scrutiny: Data last modified by FishBase 11-Jan-1998
Blue Marlin (Makaira nigricans) of the Indo-Pacific and the Atlantic are conspecific (Buonaccorsi et al. 1999, 2001; Collette et al. 2006). The Indo-Pacific Blue Marlin previously was known as Makaira mazara (Jordan and Snyder).
Members of the genus Makaira
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 8 species and subspecies in this genus:
M. ampla (Blue Marlin) · M. australis (Southern Marlin) · M. formosana (Spearfish) · M. holei (Striped Marlin) · M. indica (Short Nosed Sword Fish) · M. indicus (Short Nosed Sword Fish) · M. mazara (Indo-Pacific Blue-Marlin) · M. nigricans (Atlantic Blue Marlin)
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Accessed through GBIF Data Portal March 02, 2008:
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- Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University: Marine and Coastal Management - Linefish Dataset (Second Semester of 1997) (AfrOBIS)
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- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 3864225
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: Fis-29447
- Fishbase Species ID: 216
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 14626633
- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN): 172491
- IUCN ID: 221278
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 116064
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- Mean = -2,745.160 meters (-9,006.430 feet), Standard Deviation = 1,469.140 based on 737 observations. Ocean depth information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
- Collette, B., Acero, A., Amorim, A.F., Boustany, A., Canales Ramirez, C., Cardenas, G., Carpenter, K.E., de Oliveira Leite Jr., N., Di Natale, A., Die, D., Fox, W., Fredou, F.L., Graves, J., Guzman-Mora, A., Viera Hazin, F.H., Hinton, M., Juan Jorda, M., Minte Vera, C., Miyabe, N., Montano Cruz, R., Nelson, R., Oxenford, H., Restrepo, V., Salas, E., Schaefer, K., Schratwieser, J., Serra, R., Sun, C., Teixeira Lessa, R.P., Pires Ferreira Travassos, P.E., Uozumi, Y. & Yanez, E. 2011. [back]