Dogtooth Tuna, Gymnosarda unicolor (Rüppell 1836)

Other Names: Dog-tooth Tuna, Peg-tooth Tuna, Scaleless Tuna, White Tuna, White-flesh Tuna

A Dogtooth Tuna, Gymnosarda unicolor, at the Solitary Islands, New South Wales. Source: Rick Stuart-Smith / Reef Life Survey. License: CC BY Attribution


A brilliant bluish-black bonito with a silvery belly and markings, large conical teeth, a black anterior edge on the first dorsal fin, remaining fins grey and wavy lateral line.

The Dogtooth Tuna is renowned as a fierce fighter and is much sought after by recreational anglers. It is not, however, highly regarded as a table fish.

Video of Dogtooth Tuna.

Cite this page as:
Schultz, S., Gymnosarda unicolor in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 May 2019,

Dogtooth Tuna, Gymnosarda unicolor (Rüppell 1836)

More Info


Distributed throughout the tropical Indo-West Pacific; in Australian waters found along the northern coast, from Cape Leveque (WA) to Brisbane (QLD), but absent from the Gulf of Carpentaria; occurs mostly at the exposed edges of coral reefs and near deep drop-offs.


Dorsal fin XIII-XV, 0, 12-14; Anal fin 12-13; Pectoral fin 25-28; Gill rakers 11-14.

Second dorsal and anal fins followed by 6-7 and 6 finlets respectively. Body elongate and moderately compressed. Mouth large, maxilla (upper jaw), reaches to middle of eye, teeth large and conical, 14-31 in upper jaw and 10-24 in lower jaw. First gill arch with 11-14 gill rakers. Pectoral fins short, not reaching to below 10th first dorsal fin spine. Body mostly naked, with a well developed corselet, bands of scales along bases of dorsal and fins, patches of scales around pectoral and pelvic fin bases. Caudal peduncle with well developed keel, flanked on each side by a smaller keel. Lateral line undulates strongly. Swimbladder present.


To at least 200 cm and 130 kg.


Blue-black dorsally and on sides, belly silvery. Lacks spots, lines or other markings. Anterior edge of first dorsal fin black, remaining fins grey.


Known to feed on squid and fishes such as jacks, trevally and surgeonfishes.


Mature at around 65 cm fork length and spawn during summer months.


Not commercially fished to any great extent due to its relatively poor eating quality compared other tuna species. Highly regarded as a fighting species by gamefishers.



The generic name is from the Greek, gymno meaning "naked" in reference to its lack of scales, and sarda referring to the bonitos. The specific name unicolor means "single colour".

Species Citation

Thynnus (Pelamis) unicolor Rüppell 836, Fische des Rothen Meeres: 40, Pl. 12 (fig. 1), Jidda, Saudi Arabia, Red Sea.


Schultz, S.

Dogtooth Tuna, Gymnosarda unicolor (Rüppell 1836)


Carpenter, K.E.; Niem, V.H. (eds). FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 6. Bony fishes part 4 (Labridae to Latimeriidae), estuarine crocodiles, sea turtles, sea snakes and marine mammals. Rome, FAO. 2001. pp. 3381-4218.

Collette, B.B. & C.E. Nauen, FAO species 1983, catalogue. Vol. 2. Scombrids of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of tunas, mackerels, bonitos and related species known to date. FAO Fish.Synop., (125)Vol.. 2: 137p p.

Hoese, D.F., D.J. Bray, J.R. Paxton, & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. in Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37441029

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:10-100 m

Fishing:Minor commercial, gamefish

Habitat:Reef associated, offshore

Max Size:248 cm FL

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CAAB distribution map