Albacore, Thunnus alalunga (Bonnaterre 1788)


Other Names: Albacore Tuna, Long-fin Tunny, Long-finned Albacore

Albacore, Thunnus alalunga, from New Zealand. Source: Samantha McPherson / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Summary:

Albacore are easily distinguished by their extremely long pectoral fins, the longest of any tuna species. Body dark metallic blue above, silvery-white below, with no spots or stripes; first dorsal fin dark yellow, second dorsal and anal fins yellow, caudal fin with a white margin.


Cite this page as:
Schultz, S., Thunnus alalunga in Fishes of Australia, accessed 22 Mar 2019, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/730

Albacore, Thunnus alalunga (Bonnaterre 1788)

More Info


Distribution

Worldwide in tropical and temperate oceanic waters of all oceans. Found in offshore waters of all Australian states except the Northern Territory, and a common schooling species in southern Australia. Inhabits epipelagic and mesopelagic depths to 380 m, usually in areas with surface waters temperatures ranging between 15.6 to 19.4 degrees C.


This highly migratory species schools with other tunas such as Skipjack and Yellowfin Tuna. Schools may be associated with floating objects including fish aggregating devices (FADs). 

Features

Meristic features: Dorsal fin XI-XIV, 0, 0, 12-16; Anal fin 11-16; Pectoral fin 30-36; Gill rakers 25-31. 

Body fusiform, elongate and slightly compressed. Dorsal fins separated by a narrow space; second dorsal and anal fins each followed by 7-10 finlets. Pectoral fins very long, at least 30% of fork length in fish longer than 50 cm fork length, reaching beyond origin of second dorsal fin; pectoral fins shorter in fish less than 50 cm fork length. Small, conical teeth forming a single series in both jaws. Body covered in small scales, corselet of larger scales indistinct. Caudal peduncle with well-developed keel, flanked on each side by a smaller keel. Swimbladder present but poorly developed.

Colour

Metallic blue above, sides and belly white, no dark spots or stripes. Dorsal and anal fins yellow, finlets darker yellow. Live fish have a bright blue lateral band which fades quickly after death.

Feeding

Juveniles feed on zooplanktonic, mostly crustaceans such as copepods and cladocerans. Adults feed on crustaceans, cephalopods and fishes.

Biology

Although the sex ratio of immature Albacore is about 1:1, males dominate the adult fish classes. Females attain maturity at 90 cm fork length (FL), males at  97 cm fork length. Fecundity increases with size and a 20 kg female may produce 2-3 million eggs per spawning season.

Larvae, juveniles and adults prefer different water temperatures and appear to feed at different depths. Juveniles migrate southwards as they grow, only returning to their tropical spawning grounds when ready to reproduce.

Fisheries

This highly prized and important commercial and gamefish is heavily fished throughout much of its range. Commercial catches in Australian waters are between 1000 and 1500 tonnes a year, and most of the catch is canned. Albacore are taken by commercial fishers with long-lines and by trolling. They are also taken in offshore waters by recreational fishers using lures and live-baits.

Conservation

IUCN Red List: Near Threatened

Remarks

Like other large tunas, Albacore have a highly evolved and specialised circulatory system that allows them to maintain body temperatures higher than that of the surrounding water.

Species Citation

Scomber alalunga Bonnaterre 1788, Tableau Encyclopédique et Méthodique des trois Règnes de la Nature. Ichthyologie: 139. type locality: Sardinia, Mediterranean Sea.

Author

Schultz, S.

Albacore, Thunnus alalunga (Bonnaterre 1788)

References


Allan, R. 2002. Australian Fish and How to Catch Them. Sydney : New Holland Publishers (Australia) 394 pp.

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

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.

Bonnaterre, J.P. 1788. Tableau Encyclopédique et Méthodique des trois Règnes de la Nature. Ichthyologie. Paris. pp. 1-215, 102 pls

Collette, B.B. 2001. Scombridae. pp. 3721-3756 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218.

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

Gibbs, R.H. & Collette, B.B. 1967. Comparative anatomy and systematics of the tunas, genus Thunnus. Fishery Bulletin (U.S.) 66(1): 65-130 figs 1-32

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.

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.

Kalish J.M. (ed.) (2004) The Southern and Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery 2004. Fishery Assessment Report compiled by the Southern and Western Tuna and Billfish Fishery Scientific Assessment Group. Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra.

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.

Roughley, T.C. 1957. Fish and Fisheries of Australia. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 341 pp.

Young, J.W. & T.L.O. Davis. 1990. Feeding ecology of larvae of southern bluefin, alabacore and skipjack tunas (Pisces: Scombridae) in the eastern Indian Ocean. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 61: 17-29.

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37441005

Conservation:IUCN Near Threatened

Depth:0-600 m

Fishing:Popular commercial & gamefish

Habitat:Epipelagic, mesopelagic, oceanic

Max Size:150 cm TL; 60.3 kg

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map