Rebecca Dillon Scombridae (Latin scomber

Rebecca Dillon
Scombridae (Latin scomber-, ‘mackerel’)
Superclass Gnathostomata – jawed vertebrates
Class Actinopterygii – ray-finned fishes
Order Perciformes
Suborder Scombroidei
Family Scombridae
15 genera, 49 species
Description: fusiform, elongate, streamlined body; gill membranes not united to isthmus
2 separate dorsal fins; 5-12 finlets following second dorsal and anal fins; pectoral fins
high on body; pelvic fins moderate or small
Fins can be tucked in body grooves and depressions
Stiff, sickle-shaped caudal fin; caudal fin rays completely cover hypural plate;
slender caudal peduncle with 2 keels
High proportion of red muscle; 31-66 vertebrae; lateral line complete
Non-protrusible upper jaw; snout pointed; premaxilla beaklike; large mouth; no
true canines; palate and tongue may bear teeth
Small cycloid scales; body covered with scales or scaly corselet present
Habitat: marine; coastal waters or open ocean
Distribution: worldwide in tropical, subtropical, temperate marine waters
Ecology and life history: depend on continuous swimming to ventilate gills
Thunniform swimming mode; many migrate long distances; can form large schools
Scomber and Rastrelliger filter plankton with long gill rakers; others feed on fish,
crustaceans and squid while in schools
Many display little or no sexual dimorphism in structure or color pattern
Batch spawning takes place in tropical and subtropical waters often inshore; 500,000
eggs produced; planktonic larvae; iteroparous; spawn in summer
Additional details: 4 genera use thermogenesis as a thermal strategy
High sustained and burst swimming speeds, some leap out of the water
High commercial fisheries importance, also important for recreational fishing
Recent research: Nauen, J. C. and G. V. Lauder. 2002. Hydrodynamics of caudal fin
locomotion by chub mackerel, Scomber japonicus (Scombridae). Journal of
Experimental Biology 205:1709-1724.
References used:
Scott, W. B. and M. G. Scott. 1988. Atlantic fishes of Canada. Canadian Bulletin of
Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 219: 731 p.
Paxton, J. R. and W. N. Eschmeyer. 1998. Encyclopedia of fishes 2nd ed. Academic Press.