Scomberomorus maculatus

Common Name

Spanish Mackerel

Year Described

Mitchill, 1815


Dorsal Fin: XVII-XIX, 17-20, followed by 7-9 finlets
Anal Fin: 17-20, followed by 7-10 finlets
Pectoral Fin: 20-23
Gill Rakers: 1-4 (upper limb), 8-12 (lower limb); 11-16 total
Vertebrae: 51-53

Body elongate and very compressed. Snout about twice eye diameter. Adipose eyelid absent. Jaw extends beyond rear margin of orbit. Teeth strong and compressed. Two short interpelvic processes. Dorsal fins almost touching. Spiny dorsal fin long with a slightly concave edge and raised anterior lobe. Second dorsal and anal fin with tall anterior lobes. Pectoral fin short. Caudal fin strongly forked. Corselet not well developed. Body covered in small scales. Scales only on base of pectoral fin. Lateral line gently sloping. Two small caudal keels with a larger median keel in between them.


Body silvery with a dark blue to green back. Lower sides often with a gold sheen. Flanks with numerous gold spots (increasing in number in older fish). The anterior third of the first dorsal fin is black. The pectoral, second dorsal, and caudal fins are dark. The anal and pelvic fins are pale to yellowish.


Maximum size to 70cm FL. Common to 50cm FL.


Pelagic in coastal waters and estuaries. Forms schools.


Maine to Florida, and the entire Gulf of Mexico to the N. Yucatan Peninsula.


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.