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White Marlin illustration

White Marlin

World Record ~ 181 Lbs 14 oz. Caught at Vitoria, Brazil Dec. 8, 1979 Evandro Luiz Coser

Scientific name ~  Tetrapturus Albidus

Other names ~ White Marlin, Atlantic White Marlin, Spikefish

Identification ~ The body of the White Marlin is dark blue along the back and silvery white below, with brown spots on the sides of the white portion. Occasionally some White Marlin may have many rows of light blue or lavender bars that run the length of the body. The first dorsal fin is dark blue with many black spots, although these may fade towards the back of the fin. The second dorsal and pelvic fins are dark blue The pectoral fins and tail fin are blackish brown. The pectoral fins may be tipped in white. The White Marlin has a long, compressed, moderately fusiform body. The upper jaw forms a bill, which is round in cross section, and long and slender in comparison to many other billfishes. Two dorsal fins and two anal fins are present. The first dorsal runs most the length of the body. Pectoral fins are long and broad and the pectoral and dorsal fins are rounded not pointed.

Size ~ White Marlin can reach a length of over 8 feet and a weight of up to 180 pounds. Most angler caught White Marlin measure from 50 inches to 83 inches and fall between 40 and 70 pounds.

Habitat ~ The White Marlin generally swims above the thermocline, in water of surface temperatures above 71F., it is a pelagic and oceanic fish that can be found in water over 325 feet deep but can also be found close to shore in as little as 50 feet of water or at the surface displaying a technique known as "tailing," in which only the dorsal lobe of the tail fin is visible above the surface of the water. They are often associated with upwellings and weed lines, and frequent regions where the bottom has drop-offs, canyons, and shoals. White marlins do not tend to travel in schools, but are usually observed swimming alone or in pairs. The White Marlin has a distribution from approximately 45N to 45S in the western Atlantic Ocean and 35S in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.

Feeding Habits ~ White marlin are sight-oriented daytime feeders. White Marlin often gather near fronts, the edges between water bodies of differing temperatures, currents, or salinities. The meeting points of these areas produce nutrient-rich waters that rise from the depths and mix, drawing baitfish, and thus are successful feeding areas for the White Marlin. White Marlin prey on squid, dolphins, blue runner, mackerels, flying fish, and bonito are commonly eaten. Round herring, which are abundant along the central Atlantic coast, are commonly consumed in that region.

 

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