Body robust, slightly
compressed. Head with upper jaw and snout prolonged in a stout bill,
round in cross-section. Nape elevated. Branchiostegal membranes
joined but free from isthmus. No gillrakers. Small, file-like teeth
in jaws and palatines. First dorsal fin height less than body depth,
pointed anteriorly and decreasing gradually, ending close to the
second dorsal fin. Two anal fins, both pointed anteriorly; origin of
second slightly behind that of second dorsal fin origin. Pectoral
fin rigid (cannot be folded flat against body side). Pelvic fin very
narrow, depressible into ventral grooves. Two keels on each side of
caudal peduncle and located at the base of the caudal fin
body dark blue dorsally and silvery-white ventrally. First dorsal
fin dark blue or blackish; other fin dark brown.
size : common
150-310 cm (max. 460 cm - ca. 700 kg).
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS |
Makaira nigricans: non-rigid pectoral fin (can be folded
back against side of body), reticulated lateral line.
Istiophorus albicans: dorsal fins higher than body depth
and sail-like; pelvic fin much longer than pectoral fin.
Tetrapturus spp.: nape almost straight (highly elevated
in Makaira); tip of dorsal fin rounded.
Xiphias gladius: no pelvic fins.
BIOLOGY / ECOLOGY
Feeding on a variety of fish, including small
tuna, squids and crustaceans.