Black marlin

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Black marlin
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Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Istiophoriformes
Family: Istiophoridae
Genus: Istiompax
Whitley, 1931
I. indica
Binomial name
Istiompax indica
(G. Cuvier, 1832)
  • Tetrapturus indicus G. Cuvier, 1832
  • Istiomax indicus (G. Cuvier, 1832)
  • Istiompax indicus (G. Cuvier, 1832)
  • Makaira indica (G. Cuvier, 1832)
  • Tetrapterus australis (sic) Macleay, 1854
  • Makaira australis (Macleay, 1854)
  • Tetrapturus australis Macleay, 1854
  • Histiophorus brevirostris (sic) Playfair, 1867
  • Istiompax brevirostris (Playfair, 1867)
  • Makaira brevirostris (Playfair, 1867)
  • Tetrapturus brevirostris (Playfair, 1867)
  • Makaira marlina D. S. Jordan & Hill, 1926
  • Istiompax marlina (D. S. Jordan & Hill, 1926)
  • Makaira ampla marlina D. S. Jordan & Hill, 1926
  • Makaira marlina marlina D. S. Jordan & Hill, 1926
  • Makaira nigricans marlina D. S. Jordan & Hill, 1926
  • Marlina marlina (D. S. Jordan & Hill, 1926)
  • Istiompax australis Whitley, 1931
  • Makaira nigricans tahitiensis Nichols & La Monte, 1935
  • Makaira ampla tahitiensis Nichols & La Monte, 1935
  • Makaira marlina tahitiensis Nichols & La Monte, 1935
  • Makaira mazara tahitiensis Nichols & La Monte, 1935
  • Istiompax dombraini Whitley, 1954
  • Makaira xantholineata Deraniyagala, 1956

The black marlin (Istiompax indica) is a species of marlin found in tropical and subtropical areas of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.[2] With a maximum published length of 4.65 m (15.3 ft) and weight of 750 kg (1,650 lb),[2] it is one of the largest marlins and also one of the largest bony fish. It is one of the fastest fish species as well, having been recorded unwinding fishing line at 105 km/h (65 mph).[3] Black marlin are fished commercially and are also a highly prized game fish.


Compared to striped or 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. Black marlin may be distinguished from all other marlin species by their rigid pectoral fins, which, especially from a weight of around 150 lb (75 kg) or so, are unable to be pressed flat against their sides.


Diet mostly consists of various fish and cephalopods.

Recreational fishing[edit]

Many people see the black marlin as the premier game fish for sport fisherman. Because of their size and 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.


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 hunt the surface. In addition to warmer waters, they also are found close to land masses as opposed to wide-open water.


  1. ^ Collette, B.; Acero, A.; Canales Ramirez, C.; et al. (2011). "Istiompax indica". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2011: e.T170312A6742465. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-2.RLTS.T170312A6742465.en. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2013). "Istiompax indica" in FishBase. April 2013 version.
  3. ^ BBC Worldwide (27-05-2008). Black marlin - the fastest fish on the planet. Ultimate Killers - BBC wildlife.
  • 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