|Frigate and bullet tunas
Temporal range: Pliocene - Recent
|Bullet tuna, Auxis rochei|
Auxis is a genus of ocean-dwelling ray-finned bony fish in the family Scombridae, and tribe Thunnini, also known as the tunas. Auxis, commonly and collectively called the frigate tunas, is one of five genera of tunas which comprise the Thunnini tribe.
- A. rochei (Risso, 1810) (bullet tuna); marusōda (マルソウダ?)
- A. thazard (Lacepède, 1800) (frigate tuna); hirasōda (ヒラソウダ?)
Auxis can reach a length of 50–65 millimetres (2.0–2.6 in). They have a strong, fusiform body with a sharpened head. The teeth are small and conical. The two dorsal fins are separated by a wide gap. The pectoral fins are short. They have a dark, blue-black back, the top of the head may be deep purple or almost black. The belly is whitish and without streaks or spots.
These fishes are widespread in all tropical and subtropical seas and oceans, and both mentioned species are present in the Mediterranean Sea with their subspecies (A. thazard thazard and A. rochei rochei).
In Japan the two species in the genus are collectively called sōdagatsuo (Japanese: ソウダガツオ,宗太鰹?), and this is also the common genus name. In Japanese cuisine, these fish are processed into sōdabushi, a product much like katsuobushi, though not really used in fine-dining restaurants or as condiment, but as a fish stock ingredient at more budget type popular-dining places, e.g., soba noodle shops.
Although fresh fish might be eaten as sashimi or grilled, it has a lot of dark-red meat (chiai), so it is valued much less than the similar katsuo (skipjack tuna). And it degrades quickly so shipment out to market is limited. The frigate tuna (hirasoda) is considered superior between the two.