Skipjack Tuna, Katsuwonus pelamis (Linnaeus 1758)


Other Names: Aku, Bonito, Oceanic Bonito, Skipjack, Stripebellied Bonito, Striped Bonito, Striped Tuna, Stripey, Watermelon Tuna

A Skipjack Tuna, Katsuwonus pelamis, caught off Okinawa, Japan. Source: Krw130lm. License: CC by Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Summary:

A medium-sized metallic blue to purple tuna becoming silvery below, with 4-6 dark wavy broken stripes on the lower sides, a strong median keel on the caudal-fin base between two small keels, first and second dorsal fins very close together and followed by 7-9 finlets.

This the smallest and most abundant of the major commercial tuna species, supplying about 50% of Australia's canned tuna used for domestic consumption. Skipjack Tuna form large schools near the surface and are often seen in feeding frenzies involving birds, sharks and larger tunas.


Cite this page as:
Schultz, S., Katsuwonus pelamis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 15 Nov 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/724

Skipjack Tuna, Katsuwonus pelamis (Linnaeus 1758)

More Info


Distribution

Found in all Australian states and territories, absent from Gulf of Carpentaria. Elsewhere, circumglobal in tropical seas, and along the oceanic coast of Europe and throughout the North Sea; absent from the Mediterranean and Black Seas.

Features

Meristic features: Dorsal fin XIV-XVI, 0, 0, 14-15; Anal fin 14-15; Pectoral fin 26-27; Gill rakers 53-63.

First and second dorsal fin close together, never more than eye width apart. Pectoral-fin tips do not reach space between first and second dorsal fins. Second dorsal and anal fins followed by 7-9 and 7-8 finlets, respectively. Body fusiform, elongate and rounded. Small conical teeth forming a single series. Body naked except for corselet and lateral line. Caudal peduncle with well developed keel, flanked on each side by a smaller keel. Swim bladder absent.

Size

To at least 110 cm and 35 kg.

Colour

Dark metallic blue above, sides and belly silvery. Four to six dark stripes along belly and lower sides.

Feeding

Carnivore - feeds on fishes, crustaceans and cephalopods. A highly opportunistic predator that feeds primarily at dawn and dusk. Skipjack tuna are an important prey species for larger pelagic fishes and sharks.

Biology

Matures at around 45 cm fork length (FL). Fecundity increases with size, with a female of 87 cm FL producing up to 2 million eggs over a number of batch spawnings. Different fish stocks mature at different sizes, and also vary in fecundity at a given size. Spawning occurs year round in tropical waters, but the spawning season is restricted to the summer in non-tropical waters. Known to live to least 12 years of age.

Fisheries

Skipjack Tuna are mostly fished between December and March with purse seines and some pole and line fishers. Australia supplies about 50% of the World's canned Skipjack Tuna and the fishery is closely monitored. Daily catch limits apply only to recreational anglers in Tasmania, the Northern Territory and Victoria. No bag limits for Skipjack Tuna apply to recreational anglers in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia or South Australia.

Remarks

Like many other tunas, Skipjack Tuna have a specialised heat exchange system that allows them to maintain their body temperatures above that of the surrounding water. 

Species Citation

Scomber pelamis 1758, Systema Naturae, 10(1): 297. Type locality: Pelagic, between the tropics ("in Pelago inter Tropicos").

Author

Schultz, S.

Skipjack Tuna, Katsuwonus pelamis (Linnaeus 1758)

References


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls.

Anonymous. 2008. Annual Status Report: Skipjack Tuna Fishery. Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra. 25 pp.

Arai, T., Kotake, A., Kayama, S., Ogura, M. & Watanabe, Y. 2005. Movements and life history patterns of the skipjack tuna Katsuwonus pelamis in the western Pacific, as revealed by otolith Sr:Ca ratios. J. Mar. Biol. Assoc. UK 85: 1211-1216.

Collette, B.B. 2010. Reproduction and Development in Epipelagic Fishes. In: Cole, K.S. (ed.), Reproduction and Sexuality in Marine Fishes: Patterns and Processes, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

Collette, B., Acero, A., Amorim, A.F., Boustany, A., Canales Ramirez, C., Cardenas, G., Carpenter, K.E., de Oliveira Leite Jr., N., Di Natale, A., Fox, W., Fredou, F.L., Graves, J., Guzman-Mora, A., Viera Hazin, F.H., Juan Jorda, M., Kada, O., Minte Vera, C., Miyabe, N., Montano Cruz, R., Nelson, R., Oxenford, H., Salas, E., Schaefer, K., Serra, R., Sun, C., Teixeira Lessa, R.P., Pires Ferreira Travassos, P.E., Uozumi, Y. & Yanez, E. 2011. Katsuwonus pelamis. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. . Downloaded on 13 January 2014.


Collette, B.B. & Nauen, C.E. 1983. FAO species catalogue. Scombrids of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of tunas, mackerels, bonitos and related species known to date. Fisheries Synopsis No. 125, Vol. 2. Rome : FAO. 137 pp. 81 figs

Fraser-Brunner, A. 1950. The fishes of the family Scombridae. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 12 3(7): 131-163 figs 1-35

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Families Sphyraenidae to Centrolophidae. pp. 774-800 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Gomon, M.F. & Robertson, E.M. 1994. Family Scombridae. pp. 819-828, figs 724-732 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

Grant, E.M. 1991. Fishes of Australia. Brisbane : EM Grant Pty Ltd 480 pp.

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

Hutchins, J.B. & Thompson, M. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 103 pp. 345 figs.

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3)

Jones, S. & Silas, E.G. 1962. Synopsis of biological data on skipjack Katsuwonus pelamis (Linnaeus) 1758 (Indian Ocean). FAO Fisheries Report 6(2): 663-694.

Joseph, J. 2009. Status of the world fisheries for tuna. International Seafood Sustainability Foundation.

Kailola, P.J., Williams, M.J., Stewart, P.C., Reichelt, R.E., McNee, A. & Grieve, C. 1993. Australian Fisheries Resources. Canberra : Bureau of Resource Sciences and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation 422 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs.

Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per Regna tria Naturae, secundem Classes, Ordines, Genera, Species, cum Characteribus, Differentis, Synonymis, Locis. Tom.1 Editio decima, reformata. Holmiae : Laurentii Salvii 824 pp.

Langley, A. & Hampton, J. 2008. Stock assessment of skipjack tuna in the western and central Pacific Ocean. In: Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (eds). Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Loukos, H., Monfray, P., Bopp, L. & Lehodey, P. 2003. Potential changes in skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) habitat from a global warming scenario: Modelling approach and preliminary results. Fisheries Oceanography 12(4/5): 474-482.

Majkowski, J. 2007. Global fishery resources of tuna and tuna-like species. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper 483: 54.

Marshall, T.C. 1964. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coastal Waters of Queensland. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 566 pp. 136 pls.

May, J.L. & Maxwell, J.G.H. 1986. Field Guide to Trawl Fish from Temperate Waters of Australia. Hobart : CSIRO Division of Marine Research 492 pp.

Paulin, C., Stewart, A., Roberts, C. & McMillan, P. 1989. New Zealand fish: a complete guide. National Museum of New Zealand Miscellaneous Series 19: 1-279

Pepperell, J. 2010. Fishes of the Open Ocean a Natural History & Illustrated Guide. Sydney : University of New South Wales Press Ltd 266 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Schaefer K.M. 2000. Assessment of skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) spawning activity in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Fishery Bulletin 99: 343-350.

Schaefer, K.M. 2001. Reproductive Biology of Tunas, pp. 225-270. In: B.A. Block & E.D. Stevens (eds). Tuna: Physiology, ecology, and evolution.. Academic Press, San Diego, California.

Schaefer KM & Fuller DW. 2007. Vertical movement patterns of skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, as revealed with archival tags. Fishery Bulletin 105(3): 379-389.

Stequert, B. & Ramcharrun, B. 1996. Reproduction of skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) from the Western Indian Ocean. Aquatic Living Resources 9: 235-247.

Wild, A. & Hampton, J. 1994. A review of the biology and fisheries for skipjack tuna, Katsuwonus pelamis, in the Pacific Ocean. FAO Fisheries Tech Paper 336(2): 1-51.

Yearsley, G.K., Last, P.R. & Ward, R.D. (eds) 1999. Australian Seafood Handbook. Hobart : CSIRO Marine Research 460 pp.

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37441003

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-200 m

Fishing:Commercial & sports fish

Max Size:108 cm FL; 34.5 kg

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map