Fish Facts » Dolphin
Generally a pelagic fish, the dolphinfish is found offshore under floating objects. It is sometimes known to follow large ships and to hangout under large floating mats of sargassum. Dolphinfish are also found near the coast, ranging in depth from 0-279 feet (0-85 m). Small dolphinfish travel together in schools ranging from just a few fish to over 50 individuals. The larger adult fish travel alone or in pairs. Coloration of dolphinfish is quite dramatic with golden hues on the sides, irregular blotches of metallic blue and greens on the back and sides, and white and yellow on the underside. This fish is very colorful underwater, catching light and reflecting a wide range of brilliant colors. Freshly caught individuals change coloration very quickly, fading to a uniform silvery color. Small individuals and juveniles have well-defined alternating light and dark vertical bars on the sides of body that continue onto the dorsal and anal fins. Juvenile dolphinfish have white-tipped caudal fins and black pelvic fins while juvenile pompano dolphinfish have white-edged caudal fins and no pigment on the pelvic fins.
Generally a pelagic fish, the dolphinfish is found offshore under floating objects. It is sometimes known to follow large ships and to hangout under large floating mats of sargassum. Dolphinfish are also found near the coast, ranging in depth from 0-279 feet (0-85 m). Small dolphinfish travel together in schools ranging from just a few fish to over 50 individuals. The larger adult fish travel alone or in pairs.
Dolphinfish are generalists with prey varying according to season and size of the individual. They feed during the day on small oceanic fishes (flyingfish, man-o-war fish, sargassum fish and triggerfish), juveniles of large pelagic fish (tunas, billfishes, jacks, mackerels, and dolphinfish), pelagic larvae of benthic fish (flying gunards, triggerfish, pufferfish, and grunts), and invertebrates (cephalopods, crabs, and schyphozoans).
This fish is highly prized both as a gamefish and commercially. It can also be raised through aquaculture methods. Fishers take advantage of the dolphinfish's attraction to floating objects, setting up floating bunches of bamboo reeds or planks to concentrate dolphinfish prior to setting nets. The flesh is marketed fresh and frozen and is highly valued.
The dolphinfish is a large fish, known to reach a maximum of 6 feet (2 m) in length, but more commonly to lengths of 3 feet (1 m). This fish commonly weighs 30 pounds (14 kg) with a maximum of more than 65 pounds (30 kg). The world record is 87 pounds (39.5 kg). Dolphinfish that school together range in size from 1-20 pounds (.5-9 kg) while larger individuals live alone or in pairs
The dolphinfish is distributed in tropical and subtropical waters throughout the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. It is abundant in the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Current, and throughout the Caribbean. In the eastern Atlantic Ocean, dolphinfish are found between the Bay of Biscay (France) and the mouth of the Congo and as far south as the southern tip of Africa. Populations in the eastern Pacific Ocean range from the coast of Oregon and California south to the Galapagos Islands and Peru. Dolphinfish are found between latitudes 46°N and 38°S in the western Pacific Ocean, reported around the Philippine Islands, Sea of Japan, Taiwan, and the Sea of Okhotsk. It also occurs in the northern and central Indian Ocean and throughout the Mediterranean Sea.
Florida Museum of Natural History
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