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Author: Linnaeus, 1758

Scomber scombrus Linnaeus, 1758

Diagnosis: first dorsal spines 11-13; space between posterior end of first dorsal fin groove and origin of second dorsal fin clearly greater than groove, approximately 1.5 times as long. Swimbladder absent. Vertebrae 13 + 18, first haemal spine anterior to first inter-haemal process. Colour: belly unmarked. Size: commonly to 35-46 cm fork length; exceptional individuals may reach 1.8 kg in weight.

Habitat: epipelagic or mesodemersal in depths to 200-250 m. Schooling, sometimes in enormous schools. Food: adults eat vast quantities of pelagic crustaceans, chiefly copepods and euphausiids, but also crab larvae, amphipods, arrow worms, and young clupeoid fishes. Reproduction: spawn in shallow water over the continental shelf in spring and early summer. Eggs and larvae planktonic.

Distribution: a north Atlantic species found throughout the area from Norway to the Azores and Morocco, the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Present in the western Baltic Sea. Common in Murmansk in warmer years and occasionally reaches the White Sea and Novaya Zemlya. Elsewhere, extends south to the Cape Verde Is. and Cabo Bojador (26° N) on the north-west coast of Africa.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Ehrenbaum, 1924: 6, fig. la (juv.), Ib (larva) | Padoa, 1956: 471, fig. 296 (eggs), 297-301 (larvae), 302-303 (post-larvae), 304-305 (juv.) | Bini, 1968, 5: 30, 3 fig.
Otoliths (sagitta). Chaine, 1957: 482, pl. 2 | Schmidt, 1968: 51, pl. 10 (fig. 141), pl. 22. Other references in Weiler, 1968.

Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus)