Auxis thazard

Common Name

Frigate Mackerel

Year Described

Lacep├Ęde, 1800

Identification

Dorsal Fin: X-XII, 10-12, followed by 8 finlets
Anal Fin: 11-14, followed by 7 finlets
Pectoral Fin: 23-25
Gill Rakers: 36-44 (first arch)
Vertebrae: 39

Body fusiform, elongate, and rounded in cross-section. Snout about as long as eye diameter. Adipose eyelid absent. Jaw extends to anterior half of orbit. Teeth small and conical. Tongue with two strong ridges. Interpelvic process a single flap as long as the pelvic fins themselves. Dorsal fins well separated. Spiny dorsal fin, second dorsal and anal fin small with tall anterior lobes. Pectoral fin longer (reaching scaleless area above corselet). Caudal fin semilunate. Corselet well developed; extends past second dorsal fin but is much thinner posteriorly than A. rochei. Body naked apart from corselet. Lateral line with very weak anterior arch. Two small caudal keels with a larger median keel in between them.

Color

Body bright silvery grading to blue-black on the dorsal midline. An intense blue sheen is often apparent on the dorsum. A series of oblique, irregular black bars or wavy line markings running along the upper edge of the corselet to the caudal peduncle. The fins are dusky to blue-black except for the anal fin/finlets which are pale.

Size

Maximum size to 50cm FL.

Habitat

Pelagic in inshore and oceanic waters.

Range

Scattered records from North Carolina to Venezuela, including the Caribbean Sea.

References

Collette, B.B. 2002. Scombridae (pp 1836-1857). In: Carpenter. 2002. The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Vol. 3: Bony fishes part 2 (Opistognathidae to Molidae), sea turtles and sea mammals. FAO Species Identification Guides for Fisheries Purposes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Special Publication No. 5.

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2011.FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org

McEachran, J.D. and J.D. Fechhelm. 2005. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico. Volume 2: Scorpaeniformes to Tetraodontiformes. University of Texas Press, Austin. i-viii +1-1004.