Scombrids (Spanish Mackerels)


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Tunas, mackerels, Spanish mackerels, albacore, bonitos, seerfishes and wahoo are the common names for the members of the Scombridae family. The family members are distinguished by having finlets behind dorsal and anal fins, deeply forked caudal fin, and at least 2 small keels on each side of caudal peduncle. Many species have a larger keel in between the small keels.

Members of the Scombridae are found in the tropical and subtropical seas around the world. There are 15 genera and 54 species worldwide. All of them are excellent food fishes. Many are of commercial importance and good sports fishes. Scientifically the family is divided into 2 subfamilies. The subfamily Scombrinae consist of 53 species and Gasterochismatinae consist of only one species. However, in general they can be divided according to their shape into 3 groups; Spanish mackerels, mackerels and tunas.

The Spanish mackerels or seerfishes are mainly from Scomberomorus (18 species) and Grammatorcynus (2 species) genus. They are mostly found near the surface of coastal waters. They frequently occur in small schools and some of them are migratory fishes. They are carnivorous fish with large, triangular, compressed and sharp jaw teeth. They feed commonly on other schooling fishes, crustaceans and squids. They are frequently caught using artificial lures and live bait as they are attracted by flashing objects and wounded fish, particularly in murky water. Steel leader is used to prevent broken lines and care need to be taken to avoid their teeth when handling life Spanish mackerels.


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Scientific Name: Scomberomorus commerson  (Lacepède, 1800)
English Name: Narrow-barred Spanish Mackerel
Mandarin Name: 马鲛鱼 (Mǎ jiāo yú), 康氏马鲛 (Kāng shì mǎ jiāo), 巴丹鱼 (Ba dān yú)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Tenggiri Batang
Local Hokkien: Tek Ka
Main Diagnostic Features: Lateral line abruptly bent downward below end of second dorsal fin. Body marked with numerous thin, wavy vertical bands.
Size: Maximum fork length about 220 cm, commonly to 90 cm.






Scientific Name: Scomberomorus guttatus  (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)
English Name: Indo-Pacific King Mackerel, Spotted Spanish Mackerel
Mandarin Name: 马鲛鱼 (Mǎ jiāo yú), 斑点马鲛 (Bāndiǎn mǎ jiāo)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Tenggiri Papan, Tenggiri Bunga
Local Hokkien: Beh Ka
Main Diagnostic Features: Lateral line almost straight to below middle of second dorsal fin and gently bent downward to middle of caudal peduncle. About 3 irregular rows of dark smaller than eye round spots on sides of body. Spinous dorsal fin dark up to eighth spine and white posteriorly, with black distal margin.
Size: Maximum fork length 76 cm, commonly to 55 cm.






Scientific Name: Scomberomorus koreanus  (Kishinouye, 1915)
English Name: Korean Seerfish
Mandarin Name: 马鲛鱼 (Mǎ jiāo yú), 朝鲜马鲛 (Cháoxiǎn mǎ jiāo)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Tenggiri Korea, Luding, Dengkeh, Dengkel
Local Hokkien: Beh Ka
Main Diagnostic Features: Body depth much greater than head length. Lateral line gradually curving down toward caudal peduncle keel. First dorsal fin black.
Size: Maximum fork length 150 cm, commonly to 60 cm.






Scientific Name: Scomberomorus lineolatus  (Cuvier, 1829)
English Name: Streaked Seerfish
Mandarin Name: 马鲛鱼 (Mǎ jiāo yú), 线纹马鲛 (Xiàn wén mǎ jiāo)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Tenggiri Papan, Tenggiri Musang, Tenggiri Tikus
Local Hokkien: Beh Ka
Main Diagnostic Features: Lateral line running almost straight to below second dorsal finlet, then slightly bent downward toward keel of caudal peduncle. Upper part of body marked with a series of irregular, horizontal, narrow black lines sometimes breaking up into spots ventrally.
Size: Maximum fork length 80 cm, commonly to 70 cm.