Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Thunnus obesus, Bigeye Tuna

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

large eye; body deep, deepest mid D1
juvenile: white bars
D2 & A yellow, finlets yellow + black edge
gill rakers 23-31
pectorals: subadult- passes D2, tip points down; adult- reaches D2
C grey, no white border

Thunnus obesus (Lowe, 1839)

Bigeye Tuna

Body elongate, fusiform, deep, deepest under center of first dorsal base, moderately compressed; eye large; no fatty eyelid; teeth slender, conical; top of tongue with 2 cartilaginous ridges; 23-31 gill rakers; 2 dorsal fins, barely separated; 1st dorsal XIII-XV; 8-9 finlets after dorsal and anal fins; 2nd dorsal and anal fin without long front lobes; pectoral fins moderately long, in juveniles tip is pointed down and fin reaches past 2nd dorsal front lobe, reaches 2nd dorsal lobe in adult; short, forked bony process between pelvic fins; 1 large + 2 small keels on tail base; tail fin deeply forked; indistinct scaly corselet on front of body, small scales cover body behind corselet; lateral line complete.

Back metallic dark blue, lower sides and belly whitish; a lateral iridescent blue band running along sides of live fish; juveniles with wide, continuous white bars on rear half of body, larger fish without bars; first dorsal fin yellow; second dorsal and anal fins pale yellow; finlets bright yellow, edged with black; tail dark grey, no white rear border.

Maximum size, 250 cm; all-tackle world record 197.3 kg.

Habitat: oceanic pelagic.

Depth: 0-1800 m.

Circumglobal in tropical and temperate seas; Canada to Argentina.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Offshore
  • Offshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Water column only
  • Water column
  • Flotsam
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Bony fishes
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Vulnerable
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 250
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 1800