About This Fish

Mackerel


The mackerel (Scomber scombrus) is a ray finned fish which belongs to the Family Scombridae under Order Perciformes of Class Actinopterygii. It is also known as Atlantic meckeral and Boston 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, Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea.



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 fin is 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 anal fin is similar to the second dorsal fin in shape and size and it is followed by 5 small finlets. The caudal fin is broad but short and deeply forked. The caudal peduncle bears two small longitudinal keels on either side but no median lateral keel. The scales of the mackerel are so small that its skin feels velvety to the touch. It is very fast swimming fish which can swim up to 112 kilometers per hour. They are typically voracious which 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 while Juvenile feeds on zooplankton. Most of the Atlantic mackerels reach sexual maturity at the age of three years. During the growing phase, they are preyed upon by tunas, sharks and dolphins. The Atlantic mackerel reproduces from spring through summer. Individual female produces 550,000 to 1,000,000 eggs per season. This species is a long lived species and may grow as large as 4.5 Kg in weight and 60 cm in length. It can live up to 17 years.


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