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Scombridae
(including Thunnidae, Scomberomoridae, Gasterochismatidae and
Sardidae)

by B. B. Collette

Body elongate and fusiform, moderately compressed in some genera. Snout pointed; premaxillae beak-like, free from nasal bones which are separated by ethmoid bone; mouth rather large; teeth in jaws strong, moderate or weak; no true canines; palate and tongue may be toothed. 2 dorsal fins; anterior fin usually short and separated from posterior fin, depressable into a groove; finlets present behind dorsal and anal fins; pectoral fins placed high; pelvic fins moderate or small; caudal fin deeply forked with supporting caudal rays completely covering hypural plate. At least 2 small keels on each side of caudal peduncle, a larger keel in between in many species. Body either uniformly covered with small to moderate scales or a corselet developed (area behind head and around pectoral fins covered with moderately large, thick scales) and rest of body naked, or covered with small scales. Lateral line simple. Vertebrae 31-66.
Epipelagic, some species in coastal waters, others occurring far offshore. Many species occur in large schools. Some species feed on plankton, others capture fishes, squids and crustaceans. Planktonic eggs and larvae. Most species are of great importance as food fishes.

Genera 15; in Clofnam area 10.

Recent revisions: Fraser-Brunner (1950), Collette (1979—recent classification), Collette & Nauen (1983).

Note. All the genera that occur in the area belong to the subfamily Scombrinae, so no key to subfamilies is necessary. The subfamily Gasterochismatinae contains only the Southern Ocean Gasterochisma melampus.

Tunas (Family Scombridae)