Home > Fishes > Pelagic Fishes

Updated 3/31/2016

Pelagic Fishes

 

Family Scombridae

Tunas & Mackerels

Streamlined, fast-swimming inhabitants of coastal and open water.   Tuna are warm-blooded with reddish, well-oxygenated muscle and keep swimming to maintain sufficient flow over the gills.  A common characteristic of the family is counter-shading, where the upper half is dark blue and the lower silvery white, effectively hiding it from predators above and below.  They feed upon fish or squid and are in turn preyed upon by larger carnivores including larger kin, sharks, dolphins, billfishes, and man.  Many scombrids are of great commercial importance although stocks have been depleted in some areas.

HAWAII

Acanthocybium solandri

WAHOO     ONO 

 

Euthynnus affinis

LITTLE TUNA   KAWAKAWA

 

 Katsuwonus pelamis

SKIPJACK TUNA    AKU

 

Thunnus alalunga

ALBACORE    TOMBO AHI

 

Thunnus albacares

YELLOWFIN TUNA    AHI

 

Thunnus obesus

BIGEYE TUNA    AHI PO'ONUI

 

Sarda orientalis

STRIPED or ORIENTAL BONITO

 

Scomber australasicus

SPOTTED MACKEREL


Family Gempylidae

Snake Mackerels

Snake Mackerels inhabit mid-water depths of the open ocean, migrating toward the surface at night to feed upon fishes & planktonic invertebrates.  Landed as bycatch on tuna longline vessels.

HAWAII

Lepidocybium flavobrunneum

SMITH'S ESCOLAR      WALU

 
Gempylus serpens

SNAKE MACKEREL

 

Family Istiophoridae

Billfishes

True billfishes have an upper jaw roughly cylindrical in cross-section.  They inhabit well-lit surface waters of the open sea and feed on fishes during the day.  The bill is slashed left and right to maim prey so it can be swallowed with ease.  Highly sought by sport fishers but not esteemed as food, since the flesh of most species is tough, dry, and high in mercury.

HAWAII

Makaira nigricans

PACIFIC BLUE MARLIN   Kajiki

 
Tetrapterus audax

STRIPED MARLIN    NAIRAGI

 

Istiophorus platypterus

SAILFISH

 

Tetrapterus angustirostris

SHORTBILLED SPEARFISH    HEBI

 


Family Xiphiidae

Broadbill Swordfish

HAWAII

 Xiphias gladius

BROADBILL SWORDFISH    SHUTOME

 

Family Coryphaenidae

Mahimahi

HAWAII

Coryphaena hippurus

DOLPHINFISH       MAHIMAHI

 


Family Lampridae

Moonfish

HAWAII

Lampris guttatus

MOONFISH    OPAH

 


Family Bramidae

Pomfrets

HAWAII

Taractichthys steindachneri

SICKLE POMFRET    MONCHONG

 

Brama sp.

POMFRET

 


Family Zeidae

Dories

HAWAII

Zenopsis nebulosa

MIRROR DORY     Kagamidai

 

 


Family Exocoetidae

Flyingfishes

HAWAII

Cheilopogon spilonotopterus

Cypselurus spilonotopterus

STAINED FLYINGFISH

Exocoetus volitans

Exocoetus volitans

TROPICAL TWO-WINGED FLYINGFISH

 
Parexocoetus brachypterus

 

SAILFIN FLYINGFISH

 


EASTERN PACIFIC

Cheilopogon pinnatibarbatus californicus

CALIFORNIA FLYINGFISH

 


Family Nomeidae

Driftfishes

HAWAII

Psenes cyanophrys

FRECKLED DRIFTFISH

 

Cubiceps paradoxus

LONGFIN CIGARFISH

 


Family Myctophidae

Lanternfishes 

Lanternfishes inhabit midwater depths of the open ocean and make a nightly migration toward the surface to feed upon zooplankton.  They employ light-emitting bacteria in special cells along the sides and belly to create a pale green light to hide their silhouette from predators below.  They are among the most numerous animals in the ocean.

HAWAII

Diaphus fragilis

FRAGILE LANTERNFISH

 


Family Trichiuridae

Beltfishes

HAWAII

Assurger anzac

RAZORBACK SCABBARDFISH   Tachiuo

 


Family Echeneidae

Remoras, Sharksuckers

Remoras are usually associated with large animals in the open ocean.  They use a special suction device on the forehead to hitchhike on other animals to conserve energy.  They feed upon scraps of food left by their host.  They might temporarily attach themselves to vessels, swimmers or divers.

HAWAII

Remora remora

COMMON REMORA

 

Echeneis naucrates

SLENDER REMORA