Abundant offshore fish, sauries are members of the four species Scomberesocidae family. They have only moderately elongated jaws that are beaklike, and they are easily distinguished from needlefish and halfbeaks by the five to seven finlets behind the dorsal and the anal fins, as in mackerel. Sauries as a group have small scales, relatively small mouth openings, small teeth, and no swim bladders. These relatively abundant fish are heavily preyed upon by tuna, marlin, bluefish, and other predators.

The Atlantic saury (Scomberesox saurus) travels in schools containing thousands of fish. They are commonly attacked by a variety of predators that sometimes drive the schools into shallow nearshore waters. Often a whole school will rise simultaneously from the sea and skitter across the surface (for this reason, commercial fishermen refer to them as “skippers”). They are sometimes caught commercially when abundant, but they are not fished for regularly.

The Atlantic saury occurs in the western Atlantic from the Gulf of St. Lawrence south to North Carolina and Bermuda. Atlantic saury are also known as, in French: balaou; Italian: costardella; Norwegian: makrellejedde; Portuguese: agulhao; Turkish: zurna.

The Pacific saury (Cololabis saira) is similar and has a significant commercial interest as well. Also known as mackerel pike and skipper (and sanma in Japanese), it occurs in large schools, generally offshore near the surface, and, like the Atlantic saury, feeds on small crustaceans and the eggs and the larvae of fish. The Pacific saury occurs from Japan eastward to the Gulf of Alaska and south to Mexico.

Both species may reach a length of about 14 inches but are usually shorter.