Yellowfin Tuna


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Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares) are highly migratory and can be found worldwide in deep, warm temperate oceanic waters. They may venture well inshore of the continental shelf when water temperature and clarity are suitable and food is abundant.

They are epipelagic fish that inhabit the mixed surface layer of the ocean above the thermocline. They are sensitive to low concentrations of oxygen and therefore is not usually caught below 250 m in the tropics. They are mostly staying on the top 100 meters of the water column and penetrate the thermocline relatively infrequently although they are capable of diving to considerable depths.

Yellowfin Tuna body are torpedo-shaped with very long anal and dorsal fins that may reach more than halfway back to the tail base in some large specimens. They are probably the most colorful of all the tunas, with dark metallic blue back and a silver belly. They have a golden yellow or iridescent blue stripe that runs from the eye to the tail, though not always prominent. And their finlets are bright yellow, with black edges, without white margins.

Like some shark species, Yellowfin Tuna must constantly swim. The tunas lack the ability to pass water over their gills while stopped, so they must continuously swim forward with their mouths open to keep their blood oxygenated.

They can grow to over 2 meters length and weight of at least 190 kg. As of July 2019, the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) All Tackle Record for Yellowfin Tuna stand at 193.68 kg (427 lb) for a fish caught in 2012, 100 miles off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Yellowfin Tuna often travel in schools with similarly sized companions. They sometimes school with other tuna species of tunas.

Though almost all fishes are cold blooded, tunas in the genus Thunnus have ability to maintain a body temperature significantly warmer than that of the ambient seawater. Higher body temperatures allow them to use their muscles more efficiently, and therefore swim more quickly with relatively little expenditure of energy.

Yellowfin Tuna reproduce via broadcast spawning, where several females and several males release millions of eggs and sperm into the water column at the same time.

When they are newly hatched and no more than a few millimeters long, they are eaten by other fishes that specialize on eating plankton. Juveniles are preyed upon by other pelagic hunters, including larger tuna, seabirds, and predatory fishes such as wahoo, sharks, and billfishes. Within two years, individuals can reach a meter in length and are sexually mature. Adult Yellowfin are among the top predators and not eaten by anything other than the largest and fastest hunters. They can only be threatened by the very largest billfishes, toothed whales particularly the false killer whale, and some open ocean shark species such as the mako and great white. They can eat just about anything that they can swallow; typically whole.


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