Other Namesskipjack, ocean bonito, arctic bonito, striped tuna, watermelon tuna; French: benite à ventre raye; Hawaiian: aku; Italian: tonnetto striato; Japanese: katsuo; Portuguese: gaiado, listão, listado; Spanish: bonito ártico, barrilete, listado.
IdentificationThe presence of stripes on the belly and the absence of markings on the back are sufficient to distinguish the skipjack tuna from all similar species. The top of the fish is a dark purplish-blue, and the lower flanks and the belly are silvery and have four to six prominent, dark, longitudinal stripes. The first dorsal fin has 14 to 16 spines, and the pectoral and the ventral fins are short. The body is scale- less, except on the corselet and along the lateral line.
This fish has no swim bladder. On each side of the caudal peduncle is a strong lateral keel. There are roughly 30 to 40 small conical teeth in each jaw. The teeth are smaller and more numerous than those of bonito and are unlike the triangular, compressed teeth of the mackerel. There are 53 to 63 gill rakers on the first arch, more than in any other species of tuna except the slender tuna (Allothunnus).
|Skipjack Tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis)|
Size/AgeSkipjack tuna can attain a maximum of 40 to 45 inches in length but are commonly between 16 and 28 inches long and weigh from 5 to 15 pounds. The all-tackle world record is 45 pounds, 4 ounces. They may live for 12 years.
Life history/BehaviorIn the western Atlantic, skipjack tuna frequently school with blackfin tuna. Skipjack tuna reach sexual maturity at about 18 to 20 inches in length. Spawning occurs in spurts throughout the year in tropical waters and from spring to early fall in subtropical waters.
|Tuna fishing guide|