(G. Cuvier, 1832)
The black marlin (Istiompax indica) is a species of marlin found in tropical and subtropical Indo-Pacific and east Pacific oceans from near the surface to depths of 915 m (3,002 ft). It is a large commercial game fish with a maximum published length of 4.65 m (15.3 ft) and weight of 750 kg (1,650 lb). It is one of the largest marlins and bony fish. This marlin is one of the fastest fish, reaching speeds up to 80 mph (130 km/h). This fish is highly prized if caught.
Genetically compared to striped/white marlins and sailfish, black marlins are more solid than their blue counterparts. They have a shorter bill and a rounder and lower dorsal fin. They are also the only marlin from the family to have rigid pectoral fins that are unable to be pressed flat against their immense bodies.
In 2010, Greenpeace International added the black marlin to its seafood red list. "The Greenpeace International seafood red list is a list of fish that are commonly sold in supermarkets around the world, and which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries."
Many people see the black marlin as the premiere game fish for sport fisherman. Because of their size and their physique, these marlins are popularly fished. Research off the coast of Australia suggests the large creature is much easier to catch around the full moon and the week afterwards due to its prey moving to the surface layers, which in turn forces the marlin to hunt in a wider area.
These gigantic fish are known as power predators. Their diet mostly consists of small tuna, cuttlefish, large crustaceans, and in general smaller fish. This is quite a generalization as most fish are smaller than this giant fish.
In addition to the Australian coast, black marlin can also be found throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific waters. They can also be found from Southern California to the Gulf of California to Chile, including the coast of all oceanic islands in between. They tend to stay in warmer waters and graze the surface. In addition to warmer waters, they also are found close to land masses as opposed to wide-open water.
- Collette, B., Acero, A., Canales Ramirez, C., Carpenter, K.E., Di Natale, A., Fox, W., Miyabe, N., Montano Cruz, R., Nelson, R., Schaefer, K., Serra, R., Sun, C., Uozumi, Y. & Yanez, E. (2011). "Istiompax indica". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2013). "Istiompax indica" in FishBase. April 2013 version.
- BBC Worldwide (27-05-2008). Black marlin - the fastest fish on the planet. Ultimate Killers - BBC wildlife.
- "Makaira indica". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 19 March 2006.
- Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2013). Species of Istiompax in FishBase. April 2013 version.
- Tony Ayling & Geoffrey Cox, Collins Guide to the Sea Fishes of New Zealand, (William Collins Publishers Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand 1982) ISBN 0-00-216987-8