Indo-Pacific blue marlin

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Indo-Pacific blue marlin
Istiophoridae - Makaira mazara.JPG
Makaira mazara from French Polynesia
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Istiophoriformes
Family: Istiophoridae
Genus: Makaira
M. mazara
Binomial name
Makaira mazara

The Indo-Pacific blue marlin (Makaira mazara) is a species of marlin belonging to the family Istiophoridae.

In Hawaii, the fish is known as a'u.[2] In the Pacific, blue marlin (then known as silver marlin or often misidentified as the related black marlin) were caught by author/angler Zane Grey in Tahiti in the 1930s.


Makaira mazara is closely related to, and usually considered conspecific with, the Atlantic blue marlin, then simply called blue marlin.

The classification of the Indo-Pacific blue marlin (M. mazara) and the Atlantic blue marlin (M. nigricans) as separate species is under debate.[1] Genetic data suggest, although the two groups are isolated from each other, they are both the same species, with the only genetic exchange occurring when Indo-Pacific blue marlin migrate to and contribute genes to the Atlantic population.[3] A separate study by V. P. Buonaccorsi, J. R. Mcdowell, and Graves indicated that both Indo-Pacific and Atlantic show "striking phylogeographic partitioning" of mitochondrial and microsatellite loci.[4] Some authorities still consider them both distinct.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

This species can be found throughout the tropical and sub-tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean and Indian Oceans. Warm currents such as the Agulhas Current in the western Indian Ocean have a major influence on their seasonal distribution. It is common in equatorial waters, but it is not usually seen close to islands and coral reef. It is considered the most tropical billfish species.[1][5]


Makaira mazara can reach a maximum length of 5 metres (16 ft), but the average is around 3.5 metres (11 ft). It can reach a weight of about 625 kilograms (1,378 lb).[1] Body is elongated but it is not very compressed, with two dorsal fins and two anal fins. Dorsal fins have a total of 40 to 45 soft rays, while anal fins have 18 to 24 soft rays. The pectoral fins, which have 21 to 23 rays, are falcate and flexible, and can be drawn in to the sides of the body. Nape is higtly elevated. The upper jaw forms a robust but not very long beak, round in cross section. Caudal peduncle shows strong double keels on each side. Body color is blue-black dorsally and silvery white ventrally, sometimes with light blue vertical stripes.[1][5]


Spawning takes place during summer in both the Indian and Pacific oceans. In the southern hemisphere, spawning probably occurs around French Polynesia. Makaira mazara is a highly migratory species. These marlins use their bill for inflicting wounds on their prey.[1][5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2015). "Makaira mazara" in FishBase. April 2015 version.
  2. ^ website: Pacific Blue Marlin
  3. ^ J. E. Graves (1998), "Molecular Insights Into the Population Structures of Cosmopolitan Marine Fishes", Journal of Heredity, 89 (5): 427–437, doi:10.1093/jhered/89.5.427, see page 429.
  4. ^ V. P. Buonaccorsi; J. R. Mcdowell & J. E. Graves (2001), "Reconciling patterns of inter-ocean molecular variance from four classes of molecular markers in blue marlin (Makaira nigricans)", Molecular Ecology, 10 (5): 1179–1196, doi:10.1046/j.1365-294X.2001.01270.x, PMID 11380876.
  5. ^ a b c Izumi Nakamura Billfishes of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of marlins, sailfishes, spearfishes and swordfishes known to date FAO species catalogue. Vol.5.