About This Fish

Atlantic Mackerel


The Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus) is a ray finned fish which belongs to Family Scombridae under Order perciformes of Class Actinopterygii. It is a pelagic schooling fish which is also known as Boston mackerel or just mackerel. It is distributed in the Northeast Atlantic from the Northwestern part of Africa north to the Barents Sea and westwards in the Norwegian Sea to Iceland and Jan Mayen.



The mackerel is fusiform in outline with a very slim caudal peduncle and pointed nose. The upper surface of body is dark steely to greenish blue. The body has 23 to 33 dark transverse bands. The pectoral fins are black or dusky at the base and the dorsal and caudal fins are gray or dusky. The jaws and gill covers are silvery. The lower parts of the sides are white with silvery, coppery, or brassy reflections and the belly is silvery white. The head is long with blue black in color and the mouth and eyes are large. It has two dorsal fins, of which, the first dorsal fin has 10-14 weak spines while second dorsal fin bears 9-12 soft rays which is separated from the first by an inter space. The scales of the mackerel are so small that its skin feels velvety to the touch.



Most of the Atlantic mackerels reach sexual maturity at the age of three years. They are typically voracious feeders that mainly feed on small herring, sand lance and young mackerel. They also consume a variety of invertebrates such as copepods, crab larvae, squid and shrimp. During the growing phase, they are preyed upon by tuna, sharks and dolphins. This species is a long lived species and may grow as large as 7.5 pounds in weight and 42 cm in length. The Atlantic mackerel reproduces from spring through summer. Individual female produces 550,000 to 1,000,000 eggs per season.


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Location Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maine
New Hampshire
Virginia