The Atlantic blue marlin (scientific name: Makaira nigricans) is a sailfish endemic to the Atlantic Ocean. The snout is long and pointed, protruding like a sword; the back is blue-brown, the abdomen is silvery white, and the side of the body has a white horizontal band.
Atlantic blue marlin is an oceanic pelagic migratory fish, generally found in the waters above the thermocline, less often in groups along the coast or around islands. This species is widely distributed in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific, and Indian Oceans; a few will enter the temperate waters.
The Atlantic blue marlin is a well-known fish for fishing. Its meat is high in fat, so it has high commercial value. Commercial fishing is a major threat to the survival of the Atlantic blue marlin. Their long snouts increase their likelihood of accidentally ramming boats. Atlantic blue marlins are often accidentally caught when fishing for other fish, especially tuna, in large quantities. Let's get more information about this species.
Atlantic Blue Marlin Size And Characteristics
Bernard Germain de Lacépède first described the Atlantic blue marlin in 1802. Both female and male Atlantic blue marlins have 24 spines, of which 11 are tail vertebrae, and 13 are caudal vertebrae. They have two dorsal and two anal fins. The snout is long and thick; small teeth cover the lower and upper jaws. The lateral line is a series of neuromounds that sense weak water flow and changes in water pressure. The lateral line of the body is reticulated, very obvious in juveniles but not clear in adults.
Atlantic blue marlins are bluish-black on the back and silvery white on the belly; their bodies are covered with thick, long bony scales. They have 15 rows of pale cobalt stripes, each with dots or fine stripes. The membrane of the first dorsal fin is dark blue or nearly black, without spots or markings. Other fins are generally brownish black, sometimes dark blue. Atlantic blue marlin can change color, typically turning bright blue when hunting. This ability to change color comes from pigment cells and light-reflecting cells.
Average Size of Atlantic Blue Marlin
- Atlantic blue marlins belong to the family Istiophoridae and are fast swimmers with females being larger than males.
- The weight of Atlantic blue marlin is generally 120-700 kg, up to 800 kg; the average length is 1.7-4.3 meters, up to 4.5 meters.
- Females can grow up to 4 times heavier than males. Males rarely weigh more than 160 kg, and females generally weigh more than 540 kg.
- Females can be up to 4 meters long, with 20% of the total length from eye to tip.
- Atlantic blue marlin reach sexual maturity when they are 2-4. The typical lifespan of the Atlantic Blue Marlin is 20-30 years. Females have a longer life cycle than males.
|Scientific Name||Makaira nigricans|
|Average Length||1.7-4.3 m, up to 4.5 m|
|Average Weight||120-700 kg, up to 800 kg|
Atlantic blue marlin swims fast and has the habit of breeding and migrating. The latitude of blue marlin distribution will change with the seasons, from 45° north latitude to 35° south latitude. They generally inhabit sea areas where the water temperature is higher than 24°C, the highest water temperature can reach 30.5°C, and the lowest is 21.7°C. In addition, they tend to spread northward during the warmer seasons and concentrate near the equator during the colder seasons. The Blue Marlin loves the deep open ocean and migrates to follow the warm ocean currents.
The strikingly beautiful blue marlin is the largest of the Atlantic marlins and one of the biggest fish in the world. Known for the tremendous fight when hooked and their highly fatty meat, these rare Atlantic blue marlins are the holy grail for sport anglers. Significant threats to the survival of Atlantic blue marlin include marine pollution, overfishing, and commercial fishing. In the Caribbean Sea alone, Japanese and Cuban fishermen catch more than 1,000 tons annually. Although commercial fishing of the Atlantic blue marlin is prohibited in North America and any blue marlins caught within 200 nautical miles of the U.S. coast must be released to preserve the ocean’s ecology, the survival rate is very low.