Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Makaira nigricans, Blue Marlin

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

not v compressed
nape high
D lobe < body depth
pectoral & D & A lobes: pointed
pelvic < pectoral
~15 blue bars; D no spots
anus near A
LL: looping line/mesh, often obscure

Makaira nigricans Lacepede, 1802

Blue Marlin

Body not very compressed; bill rounded in cross section; adults with small teeth; nape very high; 1st dorsal long based, 40-45, front rays elevated into triangular lobe, height of front lobe < body depth, remainder of fin very low (height at level of mid-body < body depth), close to 2nd dorsal, 6-7; dorsal and anal fin lobes pointed; pectorals long and narrow, moveable and can be pressed against body, 18-21 rays, pectoral fin tip pointed; pelvic fins filamentous, distinctly shorter than pectoral fins; 2 keels on side of tail base; tail fin large, strongly forked; anus close to origin of anal fin; lateral line a reticulate meshwork or line with loops, often obscured in adults; body densely covered with elongate, thick bony scales with 1 (1-3) sharp points.

Blue black dorsally and silvery white ventrally with about 15 cobalt-colored vertical rows of round spots or narrow bars; first dorsal fin blackish or dark blue, without black spots; other fins blackish brown, sometimes tinged with dark blue.

Size: attains 500 cm; all-tackle world record 591 kg.

Habitat: pelagic, oceanic.

Depth: 0-1000 m.

Circumtropical in tropical and temperate seas; New York to central Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Offshore
  • Offshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Water column only
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Bony fishes
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Pelagic crustacea
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
  • 500
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 1000