Frigate Mackerel (Auxis thazard)

Frigate Mackerel (Auxis thazard)

Frigate mackerel are an abundant member of the Scombridae family and hold an important place in the food web, especially as a forage fish for other species. They are commercially significant and marketed fresh, frozen, dried/salted, smoked, and canned.


The color of the frigate mackerel is dark greenish-blue above and silvery white below. It has 15 or more narrow, oblique, dark wavy markings on the unscaled back portion of its body. There are eight dorsal finlets and seven anal finlets. It resembles the tuna family more than it does the mackerel, with its more lunate than forked tail; as with all mackerel, however, its first and second dorsal fins are separated by a wide space.


The average frigate mackerel weighs less than 2 pounds and is less than 20 inches long. The all-tackle world record is a 3-pound, 12-ounce fish.


Frigate mackerel feed on small fish, squid, planktonic crustaceans, and larvae.

Other Names

bullet mackerel, frigate tuna, leadenall, mackerel tuna; Arabic: deraiga, sadah; French/Danish: auxide; Italian: tombarello; Japanese: hira sóda, soda-gatsuo; Malay/Indonesian: aya, baculan, kayau, selasih; Portuguese: judeu; Spanish: barrileto negro, melva; Swedish/Norwegian: auxid; Turkish: gobene, tombile.


Frigate mackerel are cosmopolitan in warm waters, although there are few documented occurrences in the Atlantic Ocean. They are subject to periods of abundance and scarcity in particular areas.


A schooling species, frigate mackerel inhabit both coastal and oceanic waters.