Tag: Narrow-Barred Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson)

The impressive Narrow-Barred Spanish Mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson) is one of the largest fish species to be found in local waters. Attaining a maximum size of around 2m, Spanish Mackerel are fast, powerful predators which can regularly be seen at the deeper offshore dive sites such as Sail Rock.

Although this species can be seen year-round, there does appear to be seasonal variations in their numbers, possibly coinciding with their own spawning or that of their main food sources which consists mainly of small fish and squid.

Despite their relatively large size and predatory nature, Spanish Mackerel are surprisingly timid and rarely approach within close proximity of divers. Instead the are most likely to be glimpsed on the periphery of the visibility, often cruising between the large schools of Barracuda or Talang Queenfish.

From a distance they are sometimes mistaken for the large Barracuda that tend to occupy the same areas, however on closer inspection they are fairly easy to identify.

With an overall silvery/bluish colouration and narrow, slightly wavy vertical bars below the lateral line, the Spanish Mackerel has a short robust head with a slightly upturned mouth.

The caudal (tail) fin is large and crescent-shaped and stabilised by a pair of rigid "keels" on the caudal peduncle. The first dorsal fin is rarely noticed on free swimming individuals as it generally lays flat against the body.

The small pectoral fins are situated slightly behind the operculum (gill cover) whilst the second dorsal and anal fins can be seen slightly behind the middle of the fish's overall body length (the anal fin is positioned slightly further back than the second dorsal fin when viewed from the side).

On both the dorsal and ventral surfaces there is a row of "finlets" originating at the second dorsal and anal fins and terminating at the caudal peduncle.

When viewed at close quarters, the lateral line is fairly prominent and can be seen to run almost horizontally until just behind the second dorsal fin, at which point if curves noticeably downwards before continuing in a straight line, terminating at the caudal keel.

The impressive Narrow-Barred Spanish Mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson) is one of the largest fish species to be found in local waters. Attaining a maximum size of around 2m, Spanish Mackerel are fast, powerful predators which can regularly be seen at the deeper offshore dive sites such as Sail Rock.

Although this species can be seen year-round, there does appear to be seasonal variations in their numbers, possibly coinciding with their own spawning or that of their main food sources which consists mainly of small fish and squid.

Despite their relatively large size and predatory nature, Spanish Mackerel are surprisingly timid and rarely approach within close proximity of divers. Instead the are most likely to be glimpsed on the periphery of the visibility, often cruising between the large schools of Barracuda or Talang Queenfish.

From a distance they are sometimes mistaken for the large Barracuda that tend to occupy the same areas, however on closer inspection they are fairly easy to identify.

With an overall silvery/bluish colouration and narrow, slightly wavy vertical bars below the lateral line, the Spanish Mackerel has a short robust head with a slightly upturned mouth.

The caudal (tail) fin is large and crescent-shaped and stabilised by a pair of rigid "keels" on the caudal peduncle. The first dorsal fin is rarely noticed on free swimming individuals as it generally lays flat against the body.

The small pectoral fins are situated slightly behind the operculum (gill cover) whilst the second dorsal and anal fins can be seen slightly behind the middle of the fish's overall body length (the anal fin is positioned slightly further back than the second dorsal fin when viewed from the side).

On both the dorsal and ventral surfaces there is a row of "finlets" originating at the second dorsal and anal fins and terminating at the caudal peduncle.

When viewed at close quarters, the lateral line is fairly prominent and can be seen to run almost horizontally until just behind the second dorsal fin, at which point if curves noticeably downwards before continuing in a straight line, terminating at the caudal keel.

Alan's picture
Narrow-Barred Spanish Mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson)

This Narrow-Barred Spanish Mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson), photographed at around 25m off the Camel Humps on Sail Rock's south-west corner, appears to have had a very lucky escape!