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Species: Scomberomorus cavalla, King Mackerel

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

adult - no spots
D1: front not black
gill rakers 6-11
pectoral not scaled
LL dips abruptly under D2

Scomberomorus cavalla (Cuvier, 1829)

King Mackerel

Elongate, strongly compressed; snout shorter than rest of head; no fatty eyelid; rear of top jawbone exposed when mouth is closed; teeth strong, compressed, triangular or knife-like; gill rakers 6-11 (0-2+5-9); 2 dorsals very close together the first relatively low with XIV-XVI spines; second dorsal higher than first, with 16-20 (usually 15) rays followed by 8-10 finlets; anal fin similar in shape and height to second dorsal, with 16-20 rays followed by 9-10 finlets; pectoral fins without scales except on bases; 1 large + 2 small keels on tail base; tail fin deeply forked; no developed corselet of scales; lateral line, curves down abruptly under 2nd dorsal fin.

Back iridescent blue-green; adult without spots (young with yellow spots like S. maculatus); front of dorsal fin same color as rest of fin, not black.

Size: to 184 cm; 45 kg.

Habitat: coastal surface pelagic; occurs singly or in small groups; often around outer reefs.

Depth: 0-200 m.

Massachusetts to central Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • In & Offshore
  • Inshore
  • Offshore
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Near Surface
  • Surface
  • Water column only
  • Water column
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic 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
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 184
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 200