About This Fish

King Mackerel


The king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla) is a migratory ray finned fish which belongs to family Scombridae under Order Perciformes of Class Actinopterygii. It is also known as kingfish, king, southern mackerel etc. It is distributed in the western Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. It is a medium-sized fish and the entire body is covered with very small, hardly visible and loosely attached scales.



The king mackerel's body color is typically dark blue to black dorsally with iridescent areas of blue and green. The sides are silver to whitish in color. The juvenile is marked laterally with yellow to yellow-orange spots. Two dorsal fins are present which are separated by a deep notch. The spiny dorsal fin is entirely colorless with 12-18 spines and soft part contains 15-18 rays while anal fin has 16-20 soft rays. Inter pelvic process is small and bifid. The lateral line is curved sharply towards the abdomen just below the second dorsal fin. The caudal peduncle is thin and has a fleshy keel and the caudal fin is lunate. The mouth is large with slightly pointed snout. A series of 7-10 finlets are seen just posterior to the second dorsal fin and to the anal fin on the ventral surface. It is a voracious and opportunistic carnivore which feeds primarily on squid, menhaden and other sardine-like fish, jacks, cutlass fish, weakfish, grunts, striped anchovies, cigar minnows, threadfin, northern mackerel and blue runners. It reaches sexual maturity at the age of 3-4 years. It spawns at sea in the spring and summer. Female lays 50,000 to several million eggs over the spawning season. It grows up to 184 cm in length and 45 kg in weight. It can live up to 26 years.


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