The bluefin tunas are among the largest and fastest open ocean fishes and are important economically and culturally in many parts of the world. There are three species of bluefin tuna- the prized and endangered Atlantic bluefin (Thunnus thynnus
), the widespread but similarly overfished Pacific bluefin (Thunnus orientalis
), and the smaller but also tasty Southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus mccoyi). Bluefin tunas are spectacular swimming machines with torpedo-shaped, streamlined bodies built for speed and high-powered muscle and tendon systems that have evolved for high endurance. Bluefin tunas are warm-blooded, a rare trait among fish, and are thus able to adjust their body temperature, keeping their body temperatures higher than the surrounding water, which is why they are so well adapted to cooler ocean waters.
Bluefin tunas are considered exceptionally good to eat, particularly by those who enjoy various forms of raw fish such as sushi and sashimi, and all species of bluefin tuna are pursued constantly by the fishing industry and by sport fishermen. As a result, overfishing throughout their range has driven their numbers to critically low levels. Some populations of bluefin tuna are thought be extinct and others are critically endangered.