Mackerel

Mackerel

Overview

Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

, mostly, but not exclusively, from the family Scombridae
Scombridae
Scombridae is the family of the mackerels, tunas, and bonitos, and thus includes many of the most important and familiar food fishes. The family consists of about 55 species in 15 genera and two subfamilies...

. They may be found in all tropical and temperate seas. Most live offshore in the oceanic environment but a few, like the Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus), enter bays and can be caught near bridges and piers. Common features of mackerel are a slim, cylindrical shape (as opposed to the tuna
Tuna
Tuna is a salt water fish from the family Scombridae, mostly in the genus Thunnus. Tuna are fast swimmers, and some species are capable of speeds of . Unlike most fish, which have white flesh, the muscle tissue of tuna ranges from pink to dark red. The red coloration derives from myoglobin, an...

s which are deeper bodied) and numerous fin
Fin
A fin is a surface used for stability and/or to produce lift and thrust or to steer while traveling in water, air, or other fluid media, . The first use of the word was for the limbs of fish, but has been extended to include other animal limbs and man-made devices...

lets on the dorsal
Dorsum (biology)
In anatomy, the dorsum is the upper side of animals that typically run, fly, or swim in a horizontal position, and the back side of animals that walk upright. In vertebrates the dorsum contains the backbone. The term dorsal refers to anatomical structures that are either situated toward or grow...

 and ventral sides behind the dorsal
Dorsal fin
A dorsal fin is a fin located on the backs of various unrelated marine and freshwater vertebrates, including most fishes, marine mammals , and the ichthyosaurs...

 and anal fins.
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Encyclopedia

Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

, mostly, but not exclusively, from the family Scombridae
Scombridae
Scombridae is the family of the mackerels, tunas, and bonitos, and thus includes many of the most important and familiar food fishes. The family consists of about 55 species in 15 genera and two subfamilies...

. They may be found in all tropical and temperate seas. Most live offshore in the oceanic environment but a few, like the Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus), enter bays and can be caught near bridges and piers. Common features of mackerel are a slim, cylindrical shape (as opposed to the tuna
Tuna
Tuna is a salt water fish from the family Scombridae, mostly in the genus Thunnus. Tuna are fast swimmers, and some species are capable of speeds of . Unlike most fish, which have white flesh, the muscle tissue of tuna ranges from pink to dark red. The red coloration derives from myoglobin, an...

s which are deeper bodied) and numerous fin
Fin
A fin is a surface used for stability and/or to produce lift and thrust or to steer while traveling in water, air, or other fluid media, . The first use of the word was for the limbs of fish, but has been extended to include other animal limbs and man-made devices...

lets on the dorsal
Dorsum (biology)
In anatomy, the dorsum is the upper side of animals that typically run, fly, or swim in a horizontal position, and the back side of animals that walk upright. In vertebrates the dorsum contains the backbone. The term dorsal refers to anatomical structures that are either situated toward or grow...

 and ventral sides behind the dorsal
Dorsal fin
A dorsal fin is a fin located on the backs of various unrelated marine and freshwater vertebrates, including most fishes, marine mammals , and the ichthyosaurs...

 and anal fins. The scales are extremely small, if present. A female mackerel lays about one million eggs at a time.

Shearwater
Shearwater
Shearwaters are medium-sized long-winged seabirds. There are more than 30 species of shearwaters, a few larger ones in the genus Calonectris and many smaller species in the genus Puffinus...

, tuna
Tuna
Tuna is a salt water fish from the family Scombridae, mostly in the genus Thunnus. Tuna are fast swimmers, and some species are capable of speeds of . Unlike most fish, which have white flesh, the muscle tissue of tuna ranges from pink to dark red. The red coloration derives from myoglobin, an...

, dolphin
Dolphin
Dolphins are marine mammals that are closely related to whales and porpoises. There are almost forty species of dolphin in 17 genera. They vary in size from and , up to and . They are found worldwide, mostly in the shallower seas of the continental shelves, and are carnivores, mostly eating...

s, whale
Whale
Whale is the common name for various marine mammals of the order Cetacea. The term whale sometimes refers to all cetaceans, but more often it excludes dolphins and porpoises, which belong to suborder Odontoceti . This suborder also includes the sperm whale, killer whale, pilot whale, and beluga...

s, orca
Orca
The killer whale , commonly referred to as the orca, and less commonly as the blackfish, is a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family. Killer whales are found in all oceans, from the frigid Arctic and Antarctic regions to tropical seas...

, seagulls, marlin
Marlin
Marlin, family Istiophoridae, are fish with an elongated body, a spear-like snout or bill, and a long rigid dorsal fin, which extends forward to form a crest. Its common name is thought to derive from its resemblance to a sailor's marlinspike...

s, shark
Shark
Sharks are a type of fish with a full cartilaginous skeleton and a highly streamlined body. The earliest known sharks date from more than 420 million years ago....

s, and human
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

s may hunt mackerel. Mackerel are prized (and are highly harvested) for their meat, which is often very oily. They are known for their fighting ability, and are an important recreational and commercial fishery. The meat can spoil quickly, especially in the tropics, causing scombroid food poisoning—it must be eaten on the day of capture, unless properly refrigerated or cured
Curing (food preservation)
Curing refers to various food preservation and flavoring processes, especially of meat or fish, by the addition of a combination of salt, nitrates, nitrite or sugar. Many curing processes also involve smoking, the process of flavoring, or cooking...

. For this reason, mackerel is commonly salt-cured sushi
Sushi
is a Japanese food consisting of cooked vinegared rice combined with other ingredients . Neta and forms of sushi presentation vary, but the ingredient which all sushi have in common is shari...

. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

 (FDA) and the Natural Resources Defense Council
Natural Resources Defense Council
The Natural Resources Defense Council is a New York City-based, non-profit, non-partisan international environmental advocacy group, with offices in Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Beijing...

 king mackerel is contaminated with high levels of mercury
Mercury (element)
Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is also known as quicksilver or hydrargyrum...

.

Species


Family Scombridae
  • Atlantic mackerel
    Atlantic mackerel
    The Atlantic mackerel , is a pelagic schooling species of mackerel found on both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean. The species is also called Boston mackerel, or just mackerel....

     Scomber scombrus
  • Atlantic chub mackerel
    Atlantic chub mackerel
    Atlantic chub mackerel is a pelagic schooling species of mackerel found in the Atlantic Ocean, also in the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. It was described as subspecies of the Chub mackerel Scomber japonicus colias....

    , Scomber colias
  • Atlantic Spanish mackerel
    Atlantic Spanish mackerel
    The Atlantic Spanish mackerel, Scomberomorus maculatus, is a migratory species of mackerel that swimsto the northern Gulf of Mexico in spring, returns to south Florida in the eastern gulf, and to Mexico in the western gulf in the fall.-Description:...

     Scomberomorus maculatus
  • Australian spotted mackerel
    Australian spotted mackerel
    The ', Scomberomorus munroi, is a species of fish in the family Scombridae. Common fork length ranges between 50 to 80 cm. Specimens have been recorded at up to 104 cm in length, and weighing up to 10.2 kg...

     Scomberomorus munroi
  • Blue mackerel
    Blue mackerel
    The blue mackerel, Japanese mackerel, Pacific mackerel, slimy mackerel, or spotted chub mackerel, Scomber australasicus, a fish of the family Scombridae, is found in tropical and subtropical waters of the Pacific Ocean from Japan south to Australia and New Zealand, in Eastern Pacific The blue...

     Scomber australasicus
  • Broadbarred king mackerel
    Broadbarred king mackerel
    The Broadbarred king mackerel, Scomberomorus semifasciatus, is a species of fish in the family Scombridae. It is found in tropical waters of the western Pacific, along the northern coast of Australia and the southern coast of Papua New Guinea, from Shark Bay, Western Australia to northern New South...

     Scomberomorus semifasciatus
  • Chub mackerel
    Chub mackerel
    The chub mackerel, Scomber japonicus, also known as the Pacific mackerel or blue mackerel and sometimes referred to as a "hardhead" or "bullseye", closely resembles the Atlantic chub mackerel.-Identification:...

     Scomber japonicus
  • Double-lined mackerel
    Double-lined mackerel
    The double-lined mackerel, Grammatorcynus bilineatus, is a species in the family Scombridae. It is a commercial fish and is distributed from the Red Sea to the Andaman Sea, also from the northern coast of Australia to the Ryukyu Islands, as far as Fiji. It is mostly found in shallow waters....

     Grammatorcynus bilineatus
  • Happened mackerel Happundreus maculatus
  • Indian mackerel
    Indian mackerel
    The Indian mackerel is a species ofmackerel in the scombrid family of orderPerciformes. It is commonlyfound in the Indian and WestPacific oceans, and their surrounding seas...

     Rastrelliger kanagurta
  • Indo-Pacific king mackerel
    Indo-Pacific king mackerel
    Indo-Pacific king mackerel or popularly seer fish is a sea fish among the mackerel variety of fishes. It is found in around the Indian ocean and adjoining seas....

     Scomberomorus guttatus
  • Indo-Pacific mackerel Rastrelliger neglectus
  • Island mackerel Rastrelliger faughni
  • Japanese Spanish mackerel Scomberomorus niphonius
  • Narrow-barred Spanish mackerel
    Narrow-barred Spanish mackerel
    Scomberomorus commerson, is a mackerel of the Scombridae family. It is found in a wide ranging area centering in South-east Asia but as far west as the east coast of Africa and from the Middle East and along the northern coastal areas of the Indian Ocean, and as far east as Fiji in the South West...

     Scomberomorus commerson
  • King mackerel
    King mackerel
    The king mackerel is a migratory species of mackerel of the western Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. It is an important species to both the commercial and recreational fishing industries.-Description:...

     Scomberomorus cavalla
  • Short(-bodied) mackerel Rastrelliger brachysoma
    Rastrelliger brachysoma
    Rastrelliger brachysoma, the shortbodied mackerel or short mackerel, is a species of mackerel in the scombrid family of order Perciformes. Its habitat is the shallow waters of Southeast Asia and Melanesia where the surface temperatures range from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius...

  • Streaked Spanish mackerel
    Streaked Spanish mackerel
    The streaked Spanish mackerel, Scomberomorus lineolatus, is found mainly in and around India a lot them are found along Maharashtra and Gujarat coasts. The peak season for fishing this fish is from October to December. It is also known by other names such as streaked seer, thazard , sawara, and...

     Scomberomorus lineolatus


Family Carangidae
Carangidae
Carangidae is a family of fish which includes the jacks, pompanos, jack mackerels, and scads.They are marine fish found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans...

  • Atlantic horse mackerel
    Atlantic horse mackerel
    The Atlantic horse mackerel, Trachurus trachurus is a species of mackerel in the family Carangidae. It gets its common name from the legend that other smaller species of fish could ride on the back of it over great distances...

     Trachurus trachurus
  • Blue jack mackerel Trachurus picturatus
  • Cape horse mackerel Trachurus capensis
  • Cunene horse mackerel Trachurus trecae
  • Greenback horse mackerel
    Greenback horse mackerel
    The greenback horse mackerel or greenback scad, Trachurus declivis, is a species of jack in the family Carangidae, found around southern Australia, and around New Zealand, from the surface to depths of 460 m. Its length is up to 64 cm....

     Trachurus declivis
  • Japanese horse mackerel Trachurus japonicus
  • Mediterranean horse mackerel Trachurus mediterraneus
  • Pacific jack mackerel
    Pacific jack mackerel
    The Pacific jack mackerel,Trachurus symmetricus , is an abundant species of pelagic marine fish in the jack family, Carangidae...

     Trachurus symmetricus


Family Hexagrammidae
Hexagrammidae
The family of marine fishes Hexagrammidae incorporates the greenlings. These fish are found on the continental shelf in the temperate or subarctic waters of the North Pacific. They are a well-known family in the littoral zone from southern California north to the Aleutian Islands...

  • Lingcod
    Lingcod
    The lingcod, Ophiodon elongatus, is a fish of the greenling family Hexagrammidae. It is the only extant member of the genus Ophiodon...

     Ophiodon elongatus
  • Painted greenling
    Painted greenling
    The painted greenling, Oxylebius pictus, is a marine fish native to the eastern Pacific Ocean. Its range is from Kodiak Island, Alaska to central Baja California. It can reach a total size of 25 cm and has seven vertical dark bands. It inhabits rocky areas usually shallower than 50 m. It feeds on...

    , Oxylebius pictus
  • Arabesque greenling
    Arabesque greenling
    The Arabesque greenling is a species of mackerel used in Japanese cuisine.The primary population of the fish is found off of the Sea of Okhotsk. According to legend, it was discovered by Nichiji.-Uses:...

     Pleurogrammus azonus
  • Atka mackerel
    Atka mackerel
    The Atka mackerel, Pleurogrammus monopterygius, is a mackerel in the family Hexagrammidae. Atka mackerel are common to the northern Pacific ocean, and are one of only two members of the genus Pleurogrammus - the other being the Arabesque greenling...

     Pleurogrammus monopterygius


Family Gempylidae
  • Black snake mackerel Nealotus tripes
  • Blacksail snake mackerel Thyrsitoides marleyi
  • Snake mackerel
    Snake mackerel
    Gempylidae is a family of perciform fishes, commonly known as snake mackerels or escolars.They are elongate fishes with a similar appearance to barracudas, having a long dorsal fin, usually with one or finlets trailing it. The largest species, including the snoek, Thyrsites atun, grow up to two...

     Gempylus serpens
  • Violet snake mackerel Nesiarchus nasutus
  • White snake mackerel Thyrsitops lepidopoides

Use as an adjective


"Mackerel" is also used as an adjective in the vernacular names of other animals or breeds thereof, often used to indicate types with a mackerel-like pattern of vertical stripes:

  • Mackerel icefish
    Mackerel icefish
    The mackerel icefish, Champsocephalus gunnari, is a fish found only in the Southern Ocean. They are mainly to be found near Heard and McDonald Islands, Îles Kerguelen and islands in the south Atlantic such as South Georgia....

     - Champsocephalus gunnari
  • Mackerel pike - Cololabis saira
  • Mackerel scad
    Mackerel scad
    The Mackerel scad, Decapterus macarellus, is a species of fish of the family, Carangidae. While Mackerel scad are considered gamefish, they are usually used as bait.-Description:...

     - Decapterus macarellus
  • Mackerel shark - several species
  • Sharp-nose mackerel shark - Isurus oxyrinchus
  • Mackerel sky
    Altocumulus mackerel sky
    A mackerel sky or buttermilk sky is an indicator of moisture and instability at intermediate levels . If the lower atmosphere is stable and no moist air moves in, the weather will most likely remain dry...

     - altocumulus cloud formation
  • Mackerel trevalla - Seriolella punctata
  • Mackerel tuna - Euthynnus affinis
  • Mackerel tabby cat - Felis silvestris catus
  • Mackerel Tail Goldfish
    Tamasaba
    The Tamasaba or Sabao is an uncommon Japanese variety of goldfish with a body shaped similar to the Ryukin and a very long, flowing, single tail that is similar to that of a mackerel, hence its other name, Mackerel Tail. This attractive and strong goldfish variety makes a very suitable pond fish...

     - Carassius auratus

Use in prisons


Pouches of mackerel have become a currency in United States federal prisons
Federal Bureau of Prisons
The Federal Bureau of Prisons is a federal law enforcement agency subdivision of the United States Department of Justice and is responsible for the administration of the federal prison system. The system also handles prisoners who committed acts considered felonies under the District of Columbia's...

after cigarettes, the previous currency, were banned.

External links