Scomber colias

Common Name

Atlantic Chub Mackerel

Year Described

Gmelin, 1789


Dorsal Fin: VIII-X, 11-12, followed by 5 finlets
Anal Fin: I, 12, followed by 5 finlets
Pectoral Fin: 19-21
Gill Rakers: 29-51 (first arch)
Vertebrae: 31 (14 precaudal)

Body fusiform, elongate, and rounded in cross-section. Snout slightly longer than eye diameter. Adipose eyelid present. Jaw extends to middle of orbit. A single interpelvic process. Dorsal fins well separated (about equal to the length of the first dorsal base). Spiny dorsal fin, second dorsal, and anal fin small with tall anterior lobes. Pectoral fin short. Caudal fin forked. Corselet not obvious; scales around pectoral fin larger in size. Body with small scales. Lateral line gently sloped. Two small caudal keels (no median keel). Swimbladder present.


Body bright silvery with a green to bluish sheen above. There are numerous irregular black stripes and bar markings above the lateral line. Markings extend below lateral line. The upper fins are ducky to yellowish. The lower fins are pale.


Maximum size to 50cm FL. Commonly to 30cm FL.


Pelagic in coastal waters. Forms large schools.


Widespread from Nova Scotia to Argentina, but sparsely distributed in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.


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.

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.

Other Notes

The sister species to Scomber japonicus from the Pacific Ocean.