Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Scomberomorus maculatus, Atlantic spanish mackerel

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

3-4 rows small, round orange spots, no stripe
D1: front 1/3 black
D2 17-20, usually 18 or more
gill rakers 11-16
pectoral fin not scaled
LL gradually curves to tail base

Scomberomorus maculatus (Mitchill, 1815)

Atlantic spanish 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 11-16 (1-4+8-12); 2 dorsal fins, very close together the first relatively low with XVII-XIX spines; second dorsal higher than first, with 17-20 (usually 18 or more) rays followed by 8-9 finlets; anal fin similar in shape and height to second dorsal, with 16-20 rays followed by 8-9 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 gradually down towards tail base.

Greenish blue on back, silvery white on lower sides and belly; sides with 3-4 rows of numerous yellow to bronze spots, and no streaks; front 1/3 of first dorsal black.

Size: attains 101 cm; IGFA record 5.9 kg.

Habitat: occurs in schools in coastal seas; enters estuaries.

Depth: 0-35 m.

Maine to the Yucatan.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Offshore
  • In & Offshore
Water Column Position
  • Surface
  • Near Surface
  • Water column only
  • Mid Water
  • Water column
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
  • Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • West Atlantic Endemic
  • All species.
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • All species..
  • GC non-endemic
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continental primarily
  • Continent
  • Extends North of GC
  • Island (s)
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 101
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 35