Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Decapterus macarellus, Mackerel scad

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

throat membrane white
straight part LL : 19-33 scales + 23-32 scutes
LL branch - nape only
C yellow-green
top jaw: end edge straight, angled forward below
1 finlet after D & A

Decapterus macarellus (Cuvier in Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1833)

Mackerel scad

Elongate, slender, cylindrical; eye covered with adipose eyelid except for central slit; top and rear end of upper jaw straight, lower corner angled forwards; front of shoulder that meets gill chamber with 2 moderate sized papillae; gill rakers (including rudiments) 10-13 + 34-41; dorsal rays VIII+I, 31-37 (including detached rear finlet); anal rays II+I, 27-31 (including detached rear finlet); pectoral fin 58-72% of head length; tail base slender; tail strongly forked; lateral line with long, low arch anteriorly; scales in curved part of lateral line 68-79, followed on straight part by 19-33 scales then 23-32 scutes, total scales and scutes in lateral line (excluding caudal scales) 119-133; scales on top of head usually extend forward to level of at least anterior margin of pupil; branches of lateral line extending onto nape only.

Bluish green on back, silvery below; membrane at front of roof of mouth white; a small black blotch on margin of gill cover near upper edge; caudal fin yellow green.

Size: grows to 44 cm.

Habitat: pelagic, mainly in oceanic waters.

Depth: 0-400 m.

Worldwide in tropical seas; Maine to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Offshore Only
  • Offshore
Water Column Position
  • Water column only
  • Mid Water
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Pelagic fish larvae
  • Pelagic fish eggs
  • Data
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • Transisthmian (East Pacific + Atlantic of Central America)
  • All species.
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
Regional Endemism
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • GC non-endemic
  • Extends North of GC
  • Also in Brazil
  • Extends South of GC
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Island (s)
  • All species..
  • Continent
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 44
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 400