The blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) or the Atlantic blue marlin is a native marlin species of the Atlantic Ocean, but it is also found in the Indian and Pacific Ocean. It is typically found in the warm waters near the surface. The blue marlin is the largest bill fish; it grows to a length of about 14 feet. It is thought to feed on mackerels, tunas and many other small fish.
Blue Marlin Facts
- Blue marlin has dark blue dorsal with silvery white ventrally.
- Females are larger than the males with the weight measuring around 540 to 820 kg (1,190 to 1,810 lb). The adult males weigh up to 160 kg (350 lb).
- The heaviest female specimen ever recorded at 1,402 lb (636 kg) and it was caught in Vitoria, Brazil.
- It has a fairly long bill which makes up 20% of the entire body length.
- They seem to have highly elevated body and it is not very compressed except at the level of pectoral fins.
- There are 39–43 rays on the first dorsal fin.
- They will long bill to surprise their prey.
Distribution & Habitat
- Blue marlins occur in between the Caribbean Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and West Africa, as well as in Venezuela and Bahamas.
- They will travel as far as 9,254 miles.
- Researchers believe the blue marlin occurs in the three major oceans occupying much of the Southern and Northern Hemisphere.
- The fish is distributed in the equatorial regions.
- The Atlantic blue marlin typically makes habitats in surface waters with the temperature around 71.6–87.8°F (22–31°C).
Feeding Ecology & Diet
- The blue marlin is known to consume mackerels, tunas, fish eggs, and other larvae in near-surface waters.
- Marlin’s diet consists of many different fish species including bullet tuna, skipjack tuna, dolphinfishes, and frigate mackerel. All these fish are the essential part of the diet.
- It is known to feed at night.
- Some other important prey items are pomfret and snake mackerel.
- Atlantic blue marlins will not even hesitate to kill white marlin and bigeye tuna.
- They supplement their diet with snipefish and filefish.
- Researchers have found that blue marlin uses its elongated upper jaw to prey on fish.
- The blue marlin attains maturity at the age of 2 – 4 years.
- Males will reach maturity when they weigh up to 35–44 kg (77–97 lb) while females at 47–61 kg (104–134 lb).
- The breeding season begins in late summer and ends in fall.
- A female lays as many as 7,000,000 eggs in one go. Each of the marlin’s egg measure about 1 mm (0.039 in) in diameter.
- The larvae reach a length of 16 mm (0.63 in) in a single day.
- The average lifespan of males is 18 years while females live up to 27 years.
- Predators of blue marlin includes great white shark and shortfin mako.