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, in Fiji, October 2013. Source: Mark Rosenstein / iNaturalist. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike


A brilliant bluish-black tuna with a silvery belly, a black leading edge on the first dorsal fin, whitish tips on the soft dorsal and anal fins, large conical teeth, and a wavy lateral line.

Although renowned as fierce fighting fish and much sought after by sports fishers, Dogtooth Tuna are not highly regarded as table fish.

Video of Dogtooth Tuna.

Cite this page as:
Schultz, S. & Bray, D.J. 2019, Gymnosarda unicolor in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 May 2024,

Dogtooth Tuna, Gymnosarda unicolor (Rüppell 1836)

More Info


Rowley Shoals and Cape Leveque, Western Australia, and Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, to Darwin, Northern Territory, and Cape York, Queensland, to off Coffs Harbour, New South Wales; also Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean. The species is absent from the Gulf of Carpentaria. Elsewhere the Dogtooth Tuna occurs in the tropical Indo-west-central Pacific.

Pelagic and oceanadromous, mostly offshore around coral reefs.


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.


Bluish-black above, silvery below, with a black leading edge on the first dorsal fin, and no spots, stripes, lines or other markings.


Preys on small schooling fishes such as jacks, trevallies, surgeonfishes, and caesionids.


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


Although of minor commercial importance in parts of its range, the flesh is of relatively poor eating quality (especially when compared with many other species of tuna). The Dogtooth Tuna is a highly regarded sports fish.



Adults may be ciguatoxic in some areas.


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. & Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Dogtooth Tuna, Gymnosarda unicolor (Rüppell 1836)


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37441029

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:10-300 m

Fishing:Sports fish

Habitat:Reef associated, offshore

Max Size:248 cm FL

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CAAB distribution map