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Overview

Brief Summary

The mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus) is a surface-dwelling ray-finned fish that forms school in off-shore temperate, tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. It is also known as the dorado, common dolphinfish or just dolphin, a name that causes come confusion, as this fish is not related to the marine mammal dolphin. Coryphaena hippurus and the slightly smaller pompano dolphinfish (C. equiselis) are the only two taxa in the family Coryphaenidae family. Mahi-Mahi live up to 7 years and are among the world’s fastest growing fish, reaching up to 15 kg. Their carnivorous diet includes invertebrates and fish, and sometimes zooplankton. A popular sport fish, they are also widely eaten and, when not caught by long-line, are classified by several agencies as a environmentally-healthy eating fish, including the Monterey Aquarium and the Environmental Defense Fund. The National Resources Defense Council indicates that it contains “moderate mercury” contamination, and to limit helpings to six servings per month. (Fishbase 2011; Monterey Aquarium Seafood Watch; NRDC; Wikipedia 23 December 2011; Wikipedia 13 August 2011)

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Comprehensive Description

Description

  Common names: dolphinfish (English), dorado (Espanol)
 
Coryphaena hippurus Linnaeus, 1758


Common dolphinfish



Elongate compressed body; maximum height < ¼ of SL; adult  males with a bony crest on the forehead, and a near-vertical front snout profile; mouth large; numerous small teeth in bands on jaws;  patch of teeth on tongue is small and oval; a long-based dorsal fin 55-65 rays extending from the nape almost to the tail fin; a long-based anal fin with concave anterior outer edge, extending nearly to the tail fin; a large, deeply forked tail fin; no isolated finlets behind the dorsal or anal fins; pectoral fins > ½ head length; pelvics short, fitting into groove on the belly; small smooth scales; no hard spiny scales (scutes) on lateral line; lateral line with a sharp curve over pectorals.

Back brilliant metallic blue green, shading to golden yellow ventrally, with scattered iridescent blue-green spots; dorsal fin deep blue green; tail, anal, and pelvic fins mainly yellow; small juveniles golden with about 12 dark bars on side. Brilliant colours fade to silvery grey with black spots and dark fins soon after death.

Size: attains 210 cm and 39.6 Kg.

Habitat: pelagic in coastal and oceanic waters.

Depth: 0-85 m.

Circumtropical; throughout the tropical eastern Pacific.
   
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Biology

Found in open waters but also near the coast (Ref. 9293, 11230). Forms schools. Feeds on almost all forms of fish and zooplankton; also takes crustaceans and squid (Ref. 2850). Sexual maturity is reached in 4-5 months (3 for captive fish) (Ref. 11441). Spawns in the open sea and probably approximate to the coast when water temperature rises (Ref. 9293). Eggs and larvae are pelagic (Ref. 6755). Attracting devices such as floating bundles of bamboo reeds or cork planks are used to concentrate dolphin fish before the nets are set. Marketed frozen (Ref. 9987) and fresh and is of high value (Ref. 9293).
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Distribution

Atlantic, Indian and Pacific: in tropical and subtropical waters; highly migratory species comes as far north as 43.18°N
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Range Description

This species is widespread in tropical and temperate waters and occurs in the Atlantic, Indian, Pacific Oceans and the Mediterranean, though it is most common in waters between 21–30°C.
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Zoogeography

See Map (including site records) of Distribution in the Tropical Eastern Pacific 
 
Global Endemism: All species, TEP non-endemic, Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans), "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific), East Pacific + Atlantic (East +/or West), Transisthmian (East Pacific + Atlantic of Central America), East Pacific + all Atlantic (East+West)

Regional Endemism: All species, Eastern Pacific non-endemic, Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic, Continent + Island (s), Continent, Island (s)

Residency: Resident

Climate Zone: North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California), Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap), Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos), Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo), South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
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Atlantic, Indian and Pacific: in tropical and subtropical waters. Highly migratory species, Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (Ref. 26139).
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Geographic Range

Tropical and subtropical areas of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native ); indian ocean (Native ); atlantic ocean (Native ); pacific ocean (Native )

  • Benetti, D., R. Brill, S. Kraul. 1995. The standard metabolic rate of dolphin fish.. Journal of Fish Biology, 46(6): 987-996.
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Circumglobal in tropical and warm temperate seas, including Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Mascarenes, Hawaiian Islands.
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Atlantic, Indian and Pacific: in tropical and subtropical waters.
  • Bigelow, H. B. and Schroeder, W. C., 1953; Palko, B. J., G. L. Beardsley and W. Richards, 1982; Collette, B. B., 1995; Eschmeyer, W. N., E. S. Herald and H. Hammann, 1983.
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Depth

Depth Range (m): 0 (S) - 85 (S)
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 58 - 66; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 25 - 31; Vertebrae: 31
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Physical Description

Coryphaena hippurus has a long, slender, tapered body specialized for swimming at high speeds. It has pigmented pelvic fins and bands of pigment laterally on both the body and median fins. There is a square supraorbital region, and the dorsal fin runs nearly to the bright yellow caudal fin. C. hippurus is a bright blue-green dorsally, and yellowish-white with pigments ventrally. Sexual dimorphism is evident, but only noticeable after 6 months of age (Benetti, et al. 1995). Males are physically larger and heavier than females of the same age, and males have a more pronounced neurocranium (Ditty, 1994). Dolphin fish commonly reach 1 meter in length, but can reach up to 2 meters. They usually weight around 14 kg but can weigh more than 30 kg, with a maximum recorded weight of 39.5 kg.

Range mass: 39.5 (high) kg.

Average mass: 14 kg.

Range length: 2 (high) m.

Average length: 1 m.

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: male larger; sexes shaped differently

  • Ditty, J., R. Shaw, C. Grimes, J. Cope. 1994. Larval development, distribution, and abundance of common dolphin, Coryphaena hippurus, and pompano dolphin, C. equiselis (family: Coryphaenidae), in the northern Gulf of Mexico.. Fishery Bulletin, 92(2): 275-291.
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Size

Length max (cm): 210.0 (S)
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Size

Maximum size: 2100 mm TL
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Max. size

210 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 9846)); max. published weight: 40.0 kg (Ref. 30874); max. reported age: 4 years (Ref. 2885)
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to 210 cm TL (male/unsexed); max. weight; 40 kg.
  • Bigelow, H. B. and Schroeder, W. C., 1953; Palko, B. J., G. L. Beardsley and W. Richards, 1982; Collette, B. B., 1995; Eschmeyer, W. N., E. S. Herald and H. Hammann, 1983.
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Diagnostic Description

Description

Found in open waters but also near the coast (Ref. 9293). Forms schools. Inhabits surface waters where it feeds on almost all forms of fish and zooplankton. Also feeds on crustaceans and squids (Ref. 2850). Occurs within a temperature range of 21° to 30°C and salinities of 31.0 ppt (Ref. 26). Spawns in the open sea and probably approximate to the coast when the water temperature rises (Ref. 9293). Attracting devices such as floating bundles of bamboo reeds or cork planks are used to concentrate dolphinfish before the nets are set. Marketed fresh and is of high value (Ref. 9293); also utilized frozen (Ref. 9987).
  • Anon. (1996). FishBase 96 [CD-ROM]. ICLARM: Los Baños, Philippines. 1 cd-rom pp.
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Greatest body depth in adults less than 25% of standard length; tooth patch on tongue small and oval; single dorsal fin extending from above eye almost to caudal fin with 58-66 rays; a concave anal fin extending from anus almost to caudal fin; pectoral fin more than half of head length (Ref. 10948). Caudal vertebrae usually 18 (Ref. 10998). Mature males posses a prominent bony crest in front of the head. The color is striking with golden hues on the sides, metallic blues and greens on the back and sides, with white and yellow on the underparts. Small specimens have pronounced vertical bars on the sides of the body.
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Ecology

Habitat

Known from seamounts and knolls
  • Stocks, K. 2009. Seamounts Online: an online information system for seamount biology. Version 2009-1. World Wide Web electronic publication.
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Found in open waters but also near the coast.
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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nektonic
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Schools of Coryphaena hippurus can be found in open waters and near coastal areas. This species is found to a depth of 85 m. Its diet consists of smaller fishes, zooplankton, crustaceans, and squid.

This species is fast-growing, and matures relatively early. Maximum size is 200 cm, but more commonly is found to 100 cm.The all-tackle game fish record is of a 39.46 kg fish caught in Papagallo Gulf, Costa Rica in 1976 (IGFA 2011). Longevity can reach four years but is usually less than two years (Oxenford and Hunt 1983, Oxenford 1999, Lessa et al. 2008). Age at first maturity is three to four months in the Gulf of Mexico, four months in the Caribbean (Oxenford 1999), six to seven months in the northeastern North Atlantic, and four months in northeast Brazil (Lessa et al. 2008). Off North Carolina, males reach 50% maturity at 476 mm, 100% at 645 mm; females reach 50% maturity at 458 mm, 100% at 560 mm (Gibbs and Collette 1959, Oxenford 1999, Ditty 2005, Schwenke and Buckel 2008). In the eastern Caribbean, males reach 50% maturity at 91 cm fork length (FL) (four to five months old) and females at 83.5 cm FL (four to five months old) (Oxenford 1999). In Puerto Rico, 50% maturity is reached at 45 cm FL (greater than 7 months old) (Perez and Sadovy 1991).

Spawning is probably year-round at water temperatures greater than 21°C, and spawning occurs in the open water when water temperature rises. In temperate areas such as North Carolina, peak spawning occurs from April through July. In East African waters, spawning season may last from March to early June and spawning occurs inshore. In tropical regions spawning likely occurs year round. Batch spawning occurs at least two or three times per spawning period. Batch fecundity estimates in the west central Atlantic range from 58,000 to 1.5 million eggs and are strongly influenced by size (Gibbs and Collette 1959, Ditty 2005, Schwenke and Buckel 2008, Oxenford 1999). In southern Brazil, spawning occurs from November to February, at least between 20–28°S (Amorim, pers. comm. 2010).

Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

pelagic-neritic; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); brackish; marine; depth range 0 - 85 m (Ref. 13608), usually 5 - 10 m (Ref. 40849)
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In pelagic regions, Coryphaena hippurus is commonly found near floating objects, apparently because its prey seek refuge under the objects (Palko, et al. 1982).

The dolphin fish is a top predator in the Atlantic Sargassum. Common Sargassum fauna, such as members of the Balistidae, Carangidae, and crabs (Decapoda), have been found in the stomachs of dolphin fishes caught there (Beardsley, 1967).

Though it is most frequently found in tropical waters, Coryphaena hippurus has been detected and studied as far north as Ireland (Quigley, 1996).

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; saltwater or marine

Aquatic Biomes: pelagic ; coastal

  • Beardsley, G. 1967. Age, Growth, and Reproduction of the Dolphin, Coryphaena hippurus, in the Straits of Florida.. Copeia, 1967: 441-451.
  • Palko, B., G. Beardsley, W. Richards. 1982. Synopsis of the biological data on dolphinfishes, Coryphaena hippurus and Coryphaena equiselis. NMFS Circ. 443: NOAA Tech. Rep..
  • Quigley, D., K. Flannery. 1996. Common dolphin-fish Coryphanea hippurus L. in Irish and other north-. Irish Naturalists’ Journal, 25(7): 260-263.
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Depth range based on 65357 specimens in 2 taxa.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 62596 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 4310
  Temperature range (°C): 1.658 - 27.910
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.050 - 42.323
  Salinity (PPS): 30.381 - 37.369
  Oxygen (ml/l): 1.090 - 7.276
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.022 - 3.029
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.481 - 140.471

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 4310

Temperature range (°C): 1.658 - 27.910

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.050 - 42.323

Salinity (PPS): 30.381 - 37.369

Oxygen (ml/l): 1.090 - 7.276

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.022 - 3.029

Silicate (umol/l): 0.481 - 140.471
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth: 0 - 85m.
Recorded at 85 meters.

Habitat: pelagic. Found in open waters but also near the coast (Ref. 9293). Forms schools. Inhabits surface waters where it feeds on almost all forms of fish and zooplankton. Also feeds on crustaceans and squids (Ref. 2850). Spawns in the open sea and probably approximate to the coast when the water temperature rises (Ref. 9293). Attracting devices such as floating bundles of bamboo reeds or cork planks are used to concentrate dolphinfish before the nets are set. Marketed fresh and is of high value (Ref. 9293); also utilized frozen (Ref. 9987).
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Pelagic; brackish; marine. Depth range: 0-85 m. Found in open waters but also near the coast. Forms schools.
  • Bigelow, H. B. and Schroeder, W. C., 1953; Palko, B. J., G. L. Beardsley and W. Richards, 1982; Collette, B. B., 1995; Eschmeyer, W. N., E. S. Herald and H. Hammann, 1983.
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Salinity: Marine, Marine Only

Inshore/Offshore: Offshore, In & Offshore, Inshore

Water Column Position: Surface, Near Surface, Mid Water, Water column only

Habitat: Water column, Flotsam

FishBase Habitat: Pelagic
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Migration

Oceanodromous. Migrating within oceans typically between spawning and different feeding areas, as tunas do. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
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Trophic Strategy

Found in open waters but also near the coast (Ref. 9293, 11230). Forms schools. Piscivore (Ref. 39061, 46174). An analysis of stomach contents (Ref. 6859) suggests that feeding is round the clock. Dolphins tend to be closely associated with Sargassum communities as well as with floating and drifting objects on the high seas. In eastern Caribbean, diet varies with season, and mysids are a very important component from October to December (Ref. 39061). Diet also varies slightly with predator size (small dolphinfish eat fewer flyingfish and more squid than larger sized dolphinfish), and with sex (males take proportionally more of the active fast swimming species such as flyingfish, squid and dolphinfish than do females) (Ref. 39061).
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Food Habits

Dolphin observed in the western Mediterranean are visual generalist predators, and hence feed primarily during the day, when adequate sunlight is available. They feed on teleosts, cephalopods, and crustaceans, with a positive correlation between dolphin size and prey size (Massuti, et al. 1998).

In captivity, dolphin fed a similar diet to that found in the wild (fish, squid, etc.) grow more slowly than those in the wild, but more rapidly than those fed with protein-rich food pellets in captivity (Benetti, 1995).

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Feeds on almost all forms of fish and zooplankton; also takes crustaceans and squid.
  • Bigelow, H. B. and Schroeder, W. C., 1953; Palko, B. J., G. L. Beardsley and W. Richards, 1982; Collette, B. B., 1995; Eschmeyer, W. N., E. S. Herald and H. Hammann, 1983.
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Feeding

Feeding Group: Carnivore

Diet: octopus/squid/cuttlefish, Pelagic crustacea, bony fishes
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Diseases and Parasites

Tetrochetus Infestation. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Tentacularia Disease of Coryphaena. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Stepanostomum Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Skinfluke Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Rhadinorhycyus Infestation. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Rhadinorhycyus Infestation 2. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Pseudocycnus Infestation. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Plerocercoides Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Livoneca Infestation. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Lernacenicus Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Idothea Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Hysterothylacium Infection 1. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Hirudinella Infestation. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Hirudinella Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Eutyphis Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Euryphorous Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Elytrophora Infestation. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Dinurus Infestation. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Dinurus Infestation 2. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Dinurus Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Dinurus Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Dibothriorhynchus Infestation. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Contracaecum Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Charopinopsis Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Capsula Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Caligus Infestation 2. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Caligus Infestation 1. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Branchiella Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Bathycotyl Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Anilocara Disease. Parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.)
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Diet

Feeds on almost all forms of fish and zooplankton; also takes crustaceans and squid
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Life Cycle

In East African waters, spawning season may last from March to early June and spawning occurs inshore. In the western Pacific, sex ratios were about equal during spawning season. Spawning in the western Atlantic occurs over an extended period of time.Spawn naturally in captivity without artificial inducement (Ref. 41779).
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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

In captivity (aquaculture), dolphinfish have not been sustained for more than 18 months (Benetti, 1995). In the wild, they are believed to live an average of 2 years, and a maximum of 5 years (Beardsley, 1967).

Range lifespan

Status: captivity:
18 (high) months.

Typical lifespan

Status: wild:
5 (high) years.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
2 years.

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
4 years.

  • Benetti, D., E. Iverson, A. Ostrowski. 1995. Growth rates of captive dolphin, Coryphaena hippurus, in Hawaii.. Fishery Bulletin, 93(1): 152-157.
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Reproduction

Males and females are sexually mature in their first year, usually by 4-5 months old. Spawning can occur at body lengths of 20 cm. Females may spawn two to three times per year, and produce between 80,000 and 1,000,000 eggs per event.

In waters above 34° C, larvae are found all year, with greater numbers detected in spring and fall. In one study, seventy percent of the youngest larvae collected in the northern Gulf of Mexico were found at a depth greater than 180 meters. Spawning occurs normally in captivity, with 100,000 eggs per event. Problems maintaining salinity, food of adequate nutritional value and proper size, and dissolved oxygen are responsible for larval mortality rates of 20-40% (Lee, 1997).

Breeding interval: Nutritional levels are likely to determine how frequently females can spawn.

Breeding season: In warm waters, spawning can occur year round.

Range number of offspring: 80,000 to 1,000,000.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 12 (high) months.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 4-5 months.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 12 (high) months.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 4-5 months.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (External ); oviparous

  • Beardsley, G. 1967. Age, Growth, and Reproduction of the Dolphin, Coryphaena hippurus, in the Straits of Florida.. Copeia, 1967: 441-451.
  • Ditty, J., R. Shaw, C. Grimes, J. Cope. 1994. Larval development, distribution, and abundance of common dolphin, Coryphaena hippurus, and pompano dolphin, C. equiselis (family: Coryphaenidae), in the northern Gulf of Mexico.. Fishery Bulletin, 92(2): 275-291.
  • Lee, C. 1997. Marine finfish hatchery technology in the USA – status and future.. Hydrobiologia, 358(1-3): 45-54.
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Spawns in the open sea and probably near to coast when water temperature rises. In East African waters, spawning season may last from March to early June and spawning occurs inshore. In the western Pacific, sex ratios are approximately equal during spawning season. Spawning in the western Atlantic occurs over an extended period of time.
  • Bigelow, H. B. and Schroeder, W. C., 1953; Palko, B. J., G. L. Beardsley and W. Richards, 1982; Collette, B. B., 1995; Eschmeyer, W. N., E. S. Herald and H. Hammann, 1983.
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Egg Type: Pelagic, Pelagic larva
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Coryphaena hippurus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 65
Specimens with Barcodes: 104
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Coryphaena hippurus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 57 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

CTTTATTTAATATTCGGTGTCTTAGCAGGGATAACAGGAACAGGTTTA---AGTCTTCTCATTCGAGCTGAGTTAAGCCAGCCTGGGTCACTTCTAGGAGAT---GACCAAACCTATAATGTCATCGTTACAGCACATGCCTTCGTAATAATTTTCTTTATAGTTATGCCAATTATGATCGGAGGCTTCGGGAACTGATTAATCCCACTAATG---CTTGGCGCTCCTGATATAGCATTCCCTCGAATAAATAACATAAGCTTTTGACTTCTTCCACCATCATTTCTTCTCCTTCTAGCCTCTTCAGGGGTAGAAGCAGGAGCAGGAACTGGTTGAACGGTCTACCCACCTCTGGCGGGTAACTTAGCCCATGCTGGGGCCTCTGTAGATTTA---ACAATTTTCTCCCTGCATTTAGCCGGGGTATCATCAATTCTTGGGGCAATCAATTTTATTACAACTATTATTAATATAAAACCCCCCACAGTAACGATATACCAAATTCCACTATTCGTGTGAGCTGTACTAATTACAGCTGTACTACTACTCCTATCACTTCCTGTCCTAGCTGCG---GGAATTACAATACTGCTAACAGACCGAAATTTAAATACAGCTTTCTTTGACCCAGCGGGAGGAGGGGATCCTATCCTATACCAACACCTG------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------TTT
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Genomic DNA is available from 5 specimens with morphological vouchers housed at British Antarctic Survey
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2011

Assessor/s
Collette, B., Acero, A., Amorim, A.F., Boustany, A., Canales Ramirez, C., Cardenas, G., Carpenter, K.E., de Oliveira Leite Jr., N., Di Natale, A., Fox, W., Fredou, F.L., Graves, J., Viera Hazin, F.H., Juan Jorda, M., Minte Vera, C., Miyabe, N., Montano Cruz, R., Nelson, R., Oxenford, H., Schaefer, K., Serra, R., Sun, C., Teixeira Lessa, R.P., Pires Ferreira Travassos, P.E., Uozumi, Y. & Yanez, E.

Reviewer/s
Collen, B., Richman, N., Beresford, A., Cherney, A., Ram, M., Russell, B. & Polidoro, B.

Contributor/s
Milligan, HT, Lutz, M.L., Batchelor, A., Jopling, B., Kemp, K., Lewis, S., Lintott, P., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Smith, J. & Livingston, F.

Justification
Coryphaena hippurus is harvested throughout its circumglobal range. It can be locally abundant, is fast-growing, early maturing and short-lived. There are some localized declines in catch that may be related to overfishing. However, there is no indication that this species is undergoing significant population declines. It is therefore listed as Least Concern.





History
  • 2010
    Least Concern
    (IUCN 2010.4)
  • 2010
    Least Concern
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US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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IUCN Red List: Not evaluated / Listed

CITES: Not listed
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Population

Population
From 1961 to 2006, the reported worldwide landings for this species from FAO have gradually increased from 17,000 metric t, to a peak of 59,000 metric t (in 2005). In 2005, Japan reported 10,000 tonnes and Taiwan Province of China approximately 15,000 t.

In the Eastern Pacific, this species can be locally abundant. Data from the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC 2008) from 1976–2005 widely varies from 200 to 22,000 metric t, with a maximum of 22,000 metric t in 2001. Although there are no data on fishing effort, demand has not decreased. However, there have been many regional fishermen reporting that catches are decreasing, especially in Costa Rica and Ecuador where there are possibly localized declines in catch rates. In Peru, catch of this species is highly fluctuating; there was a catch in 2005–2006 of 2,000 and 4,000 mt by the artisanal fleet, but in 1998 21,000 t were caught after an El Niño event.

There is some evidence of multiple populations based on biological and morphological characteristics (Oxenford and Hunt 1986, Lessa et al. 2008, Duarte-Neto et al. 2008), however there is genetic connectivity between migratory groups in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM 2006) stock assessment recognized the uncertainty about stock structure and conducted separate analyses (one that recognizes separate north and southern stocks and one combining both). The conclusion from all of the assessments was that there was no decline in catch per unit effort (CPUE) indices and therefore the fishery appears sustainable at current levels. They did note the uncertainty and the need for more data from other countries within the stock area.

The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) 2010 stock assessment analysed data from the Caribbean, Venezuela, Brazil and the U.S. that corroborates that this species migrates from northern Brazil to the eastern Caribbean and may also enter the southeastern Caribbean Sea. The standardized CPUE indices for the eastern Caribbean corroborates that the stock is not declining. In Brazil there is evidence of at least two stocks, one in northern Brazil (shared with the Caribbean) and one in the northeastern Brazilian coast (Lessa et al. 2008). Although there is uncertainty in the data, the stock assessment in the northeast indicated that the stock is fully exploited (Lessa et al. 2009).

This species is widespread and is very common in the Mediterranean, and catches are increasing. The average catch from 2000 to 2009 was about 8,000–10,000 t per year (FAO 2009). Off the coast of Turkey it is seasonally common. FAO landing figures are available from Tunisia, Malta and Spain. Most of the current catch figures are from Tunisia and Spain and are currently increasing. Catches from Malta have remained relatively stable since 1950. The distribution of this species is expanding to the northern part of the western Mediterranean. Catches are much higher in late summer and early autumn.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no major threats known to this species. However, it is of high commercial value, with a global catch of 58,076 t in 2005, and is extensively harvested throughout its range (FAO-FIGIS 2005). There have been observed declines in catch in the Eastern Pacific, but this is thought to be a consequence of higher catches during El Niño events.

This species is caught in various types of fishing gear, including longlines, purse seine vessels, and recreational fishing vessels (Palko et al. 1982). It is one of the most important species in artisanal fisheries around the world.

In the Mediterranean, this species is caught in association with fish attracting devices (FADS), trolling line and sport fisheries. These attracting devices such as floating bundles of bamboo reeds or cork planks are used to concentrate Dolphinfish before nets are set. The use of FADS are increasing the bycatch of this species (Nelson pers. comm. 2010). Small quantities are taken as bycatch in longline and driftnet fisheries.

The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) recognizes that the lack of any institutional framework or regional body for collaborative or shared management of this resource is a concern given the increasing catches of this species in the region (CRFM 2006).
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Least Concern (LC)
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
It is considered a highly migratory species under Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea.

In Ecuador, there is a minimum catch size of 70 or 80 cm. In Mexico, there are area-closures for commercial fishing for this species, and a two fish sport limit. In the past, there have been conservation measures implemented by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) for no purse-seine fishing. In Ecuador, 50% of the fishing fleet, including those for tunas, use an experimental sorting grid to release juveniles, small tunas and other bycatch species. In 2005, a recreational fishing limit of five fish per fishermen per fishing day was established for this species in Puerto Rico (Rodrigues-Ferrer et al. 2006).

In the U.S., there are bag limits and size limits in the recreational fishery and size and trip limits in the commercial fishery (SAFMC 2003).

This species' distribution overlaps with a number of marine protected areas.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: highly commercial; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes; price category: high; price reliability: reliable: based on ex-vessel price for this species
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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

C. hippurus is one of the most popular sportfish globally. Because it is prized for its meat as well, it is harvested commercially both in the wild and via aquaculture

 (Benetti, 1995).

Dolphin grows rapidly in captivity, with low mortality, which has allowed for hatcheries and farms throughout the world (Morgan, et al. 1996; Lee, 1997).

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Wikipedia

Mahi-mahi

Young fisherman with dolphinfishes from Akrotiri (Minoan civilisation).

The mahi-mahi or common dolphinfish[2] (Coryphaena hippurus) is a surface-dwelling ray-finned fish found in off-shore temperate, tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. Also known widely as dorado, it is one of two members of the Coryphaenidae family, the other being the pompano dolphinfish.

Being referred to as a "dolphin"[3][4] causes it to be confused with the more widely known marine mammals called dolphins.

The name mahi-mahi means very strong in Hawaiian. In other languages the fish is known as dorade coryphène, lampuga, llampuga, lampuka, lampuki, rakingo, calitos, or maverikos.

Nomenclature[edit]

The common English name of dolphin causes much confusion. This fish is not related to the marine mammals also known as dolphins (family Delphinidae). Additionally, two species of dolphinfish exist, the common dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) and the pompano dolphin (Coryphaena equiselis). Both these species are commonly marketed by their Pacific name, mahi-mahi.

The fish is called mahi-mahi in the Hawaiian language,[5] and "mahi mahi" and "mahi-mahi" are commonly used elsewhere.[3]

In the Pacific and along the English speaking coast of South Africa they are also commonly called by the Spanish name, Dorado[citation needed]. In the Mediterranean island of Malta, this fish is referred to as the lampuka.[6]

Some[who?] believe that Mahi-Mahi pertains to "Mahi"(In Persian:ماهی) which means fish[citation needed].

Linnaeus named the genus, derived from the Greek word, koryphe, meaning top or apex, in 1758. Synonyms for the species include Coryphaena argyrurus, Coryphaena chrysurus and Coryphaena dolfyn.[2]

General statistics[edit]

Mahi-mahi can live up to 5 years, although they seldom exceed four. Catches average 7 to 13 kilograms (15 to 29 lb). They seldom exceed 15 kilograms (33 lb), and mahi-mahi over 18 kilograms (40 lb) are exceptional.

Mahi-mahi have compressed bodies and long dorsal fins extending nearly the entire length of their bodies. Their caudal fins and anal fins are sharply concave. They are distinguished by dazzling colors: golden on the sides, and bright blues and greens on the sides and back. Mature males have prominent foreheads protruding well above the body proper. Females have a rounded head. Females are also usually smaller than males.

The pectoral fins of the mahi-mahi are iridescent blue. The flank is broad and golden. 3 black diagonal stripes appear on each side of the fish as it swiftly darts after prey.

Out of the water, the fish often change color (giving rise to their Spanish name, dorado, "golden"), going though several hues before finally fading to a muted yellow-grey upon death.

Mahi-mahi are among the fastest-growing fish. They spawn in warm ocean currents throughout much of the year, and their young are commonly found in seaweed. Mahi-mahi are carnivorous, feeding on flying fish, crabs, squid, mackerel, and other forage fish. They have also been known to eat zooplankton and crustaceans.

Males and females are sexually mature in their first year, usually by 4–5 months old. Spawning can occur at body lengths of 20 cm. Females may spawn two to three times per year, and produce between 80,000 and 1,000,000 eggs per event.

In waters averaging 28 °C/83 °F, mahi-mahi larvae are found year-round, with greater numbers detected in spring and fall. In one study, seventy percent of the youngest larvae collected in the northern Gulf of Mexico were found at a depth greater than 180 meters. Spawning occurs normally in captivity, with 100,000 eggs per event. Problems maintaining salinity, food of adequate nutritional value and proper size, and dissolved oxygen are responsible for larval mortality rates of 20-40%. [4] Mahi-mahi fish are mostly found in the surface water. Juveniles feed on shrimp, fish and crabs found in rafts of Sargassum weeds. Their flesh is soft and oily, similar to sardines. The body is slightly slender and long, making them fast swimmers; they can swim as fast as 50 knots (92.6 km/h, 57.5 mph).[7]

Recreational fishing[edit]

Mahi-mahi are highly sought for sport fishing and commercial purposes. Sport fishermen seek them due to their beauty, size, food quality, and healthy population. Mahi-mahi is popular in many restaurants.

Mahi-mahi can be found in the Caribbean Sea, on the west coast of North and South America, the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic coast of Florida and West Africa, South China Sea and Southeast Asia, Hawaii and many other places worldwide.

Fishing charters most often look for floating debris and frigatebirds near the edge of the reef in about 120 feet (37 m) of water. Mahi-mahi (and many other fish) often swim near debris such as floating wood, palm trees and fronds, or sargasso weed lines and around fish buoys. Sargasso is floating seaweed that sometimes holds a complete ecosystem from microscopic creatures to seahorses and baitfish. Frigatebirds dive for food accompanying the debris or sargasso. Experienced fishing guides can tell what species are likely around the debris by the birds' behavior.

Thirty- to fifty-pound gear is more than adequate when trolling for mahi-mahi. Fly-casters may especially seek frigatebirds to find big mahi-mahis, and then use a bait-and-switch technique. Ballyhoo or a net full of live sardines tossed into the water can excite the mahi-mahis into a feeding frenzy. Hookless teaser lures can have the same effect. After tossing the teasers or live chum, fishermen throw the fly to the feeding mahi-mahi. Once on a line, mahi-mahi are fast, flashy and acrobatic, with beautiful blue, yellow, green and even red dots of color.

Commercial fishing[edit]

The United States and the Caribbean countries are the primary consumers of this fish, but many European countries are increasing their consumption every year.[citation needed] It is a popular eating fish in Australia, usually caught and sold as a by-product by tuna and swordfish commercial fishing operators. Japan and Hawaii are significant consumers. The Arabian Sea, particularly the coast of Oman, also has mahi-mahi. At first, mahi-mahi were mostly bycatch (incidental catch) in the tuna and swordfish longline fishery. Now they are sought by commercial fishermen on their own merits.

In French Polynesia, fishermen use harpoons, using a specifically designed boat, the poti marara, to pursue it, because mahi-mahi do not dive. The poti marara is a powerful motorized V-shaped boat, optimized for high agility and speed, and driven with a stick so the pilot can hold his harpoon with his right hand.

Environmental and food safety concerns[edit]

Depending on how it is caught, mahi-mahi is classed differently by various sustainability rating systems. It is also a potential vector of toxic microorganisms.

  • The Monterey Bay Aquarium classifies mahi-mahi, when caught in the US Atlantic, as a Best Choice, the top of its three environmental impact categories. The Aquarium advises to avoid imported mahi-mahi harvested by long line but rates troll and pole-and-line caught as a Good Alternative.
  • The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) classifies mahi-mahi caught by line/pole in the US as "Eco-Best" in its three-category system,[9] but classifies all mahi-mahi caught by longline as only "Eco-OK" or "Eco-Worst" due to longline "high levels [of] bycatch, injuring or killing seabirds, sea turtles and sharks."[10]

The mahi-mahi is also a common vector for ciguatera poisoning.[11]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Collette, B., Acero, A., Amorim, A.F., Boustany, A., Canales Ramirez, C., Cardenas, G., Carpenter, K.E., de Oliveira Leite Jr., N., Di Natale, A., Fox, W., Fredou, F.L., Graves, J., Viera Hazin, F.H., Juan Jorda, M., Minte Vera, C., Miyabe, N., Montano Cruz, R., Nelson, R., Oxenford, H., Schaefer, K., Serra, R., Sun, C., Teixeira Lessa, R.P., Pires Ferreira Travassos, P.E., Uozumi, Y. & Yanez, E. 2011. Coryphaena hippurus. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Coryphaena hippurus". FishBase. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Common names of Coryphaena hippurus". Fishbase. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Bostwick, Joshua (2000). "Coryphaena hippurus". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved August 17, 2011. 
  5. ^ Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel Hoyt Elbert (2003). "lookup of dolphin". in Hawaiian Dictionary. Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library, University of Hawaii Press. 
  6. ^ "Maltese cuisine". Wikipedia. 
  7. ^ "Hardhead Catfish_ Arius felis". 
  8. ^ "Consumer Guide to Mercury in Fish". 
  9. ^ "Seafood Selector: Find a Fish". 
  10. ^ "Mahimahi, imported longline, Eco-Worst". 
  11. ^ "Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP)". Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. Retrieved 2010-01-04. 

References[edit]

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