Albacore reside in the subtropical regions of the North Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, and Mediterranean Sea. In the North Pacific, albacore are distributed throughout a region from 10 to 50 degrees north latitude, with migration towards the tropical waters during spring and summer spawning months. Albacore occupy similar latitudes in the Atlantic Ocean, but young albacore have been caught by fishermen between 40 to 50 degrees north latitude. In the Indian Ocean, albacore are distributed throughout a region from 50 degrees north latitude to 40 degrees south latitude. In the north, immature albacore occupy 25 to 35 degrees north latitude, mature albacore occupy the north equatorial current region, and spawning albacore occupy the area near 20 degrees north latitude. To the south, mature albacore occupy an area north of 10 degrees south latitude, immature albacore occupy the area south of 30 degrees south latitude, and spawning albacore occupy the area in between (10 to 30 degrees south latitude). Note that for these migratory tuna, April to September are the non-spawning months and October to March are the spawning months in the Indian Ocean, while in the Atlantic, April to September are the spawning months. (Bard, 2001; Chen, et al., 2005; Watanabe, et al., 2004)
- Habitat Regions
- saltwater or marine
- Aquatic Biomes
- Range depth
- 0 to 600 m
- 0.00 to 1968.50 ft
Thunnus obesus) also have extremely long pectoral fins, are often confused with juvenile . Pectoral fins of bigeye tuna have rounded tips while pectoral fins of have more pointed tips. Because bigeye tuna grow much larger than , only juvenile bigeye tuna are misidentified as . In addition to long pectoral fins, have very small scales covering their body, 11 to 14 dorsal spines, 12 to 16 dorsal soft rays, 11 to 16 anal soft rays, and no anal spines. Because the anterior spines are longer than the posterior spines in the dorsal fin, the dorsal fin appears to have a concave outline pointing back toward the tail. have a faint blue iridescent band along the side of the body as well as yellow shades in the dorsal and anal fins. Males are similar to females in appearance and color, but begin to grow larger in size after sexual maturity due to different growth rates. (Chen, et al., 2005; Collette and Nauen, 1983)typically reach sexual maturity at a length of 90 cm. The maximum recorded size is 140 cm and 60.3 kg. Weight varies considerably within the species, with immature weighing less than 14 kg and mature weighing more than 14 kg. One of the most distinguishable traits of are the extremely long pectoral fins. In individuals longer than 50 cm, the pectoral fin can be 30% of the fork length. Because the closely related bigeye tuna (
- Sexual Dimorphism
- male larger
- Range mass
- 60.3 (high) kg
- 132.82 (high) lb
- Range length
- 140 (high) cm
- 55.12 (high) in
Although skipjack tuna and yellowfin tuna, they have different life history strategies. Skipjack tuna and yellowfin tuna are characterized by rapid growth and development, early maturation, and high energy input into gonad production. on the other hand, grow slow, mature late, and put relatively little energy into gonad production. The life stages of include immature juveniles, non-spawning mature adults, and spawning mature adults. The eggs and larvae are planktonic, floating around the water column freely. The typical age of sexual maturity is five years. Up until the age of four, differences between males and females are negligible, but after that, males become increasingly larger than females. When captured, sex is determined by gonad analysis. (Essington, 2003; Santiago and Arrizabalaga, 2005)are closely related and quite similar to
Albacore are polygynandrous. They spawn as a group by simply releasing their eggs and sperm into the water. (Collette and Nauen, 1983)
- Mating System
- polygynandrous (promiscuous)
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
- broadcast (group) spawning
- Breeding interval
- Albacore breed once yearly
- Breeding season
- Albacore breed July to September in the Northern Hemisphere, October to March in the Southern Hemisphere
- Average number of offspring
- 2 million
- Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
- 5 years
- Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
- 5 years
Besides the contribution of their gametes and the energy expended migrating to spawning grounds, there is no parental investment by (Collette and Nauen, 1983).
- Parental Investment
- no parental involvement
- Range lifespan
- 13 (high) years
- Range lifespan
skipjack tuna, yellowfin tuna and bluefin tuna. These schools are usually formed around floating objects such as sargassum weeds. (Chen, et al., 2005; Collette and Nauen, 1983; Watanabe, et al., 2004)are highly migratory and move with current systems during seasonal water movements. travel in large schools of mixed species that include
Communication and Perception
Little specific information is available on how (Von der Emde, et al., 2004)perceive their environment or communicate with others. However, they most likely perceive their environment through visual, auditory, tactile, and chemical means, as do most fish.
The primary diet of pacific saury, northern anchovy, crustacean zooplankton, gonatid squid, and Japanese anchovy. are opportunistic piscivores and their diet varies seasonally depending on location. Anchovy typically constitutes up to 96% of the stomach contents of at any given time. Some studied fish fed on other schools of fish when encountered due to the patchy distribution of anchovy, demonstrating the opportunistic feeding habits of . also exhibit a diel vertical migration pattern, following their prey throughout the water column. (Bernard, et al., 1985; Watanabe, et al., 2004)includes
- Animal Foods
- aquatic crustaceans
- Plant Foods
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
- Positive Impacts
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Current research is beginning to show that some tuna consumed by humans may exceed the Food and Drug Administration's original action level of 0.5 ppm mercury. Tuna marketed in stores as white tuna, such as albacore, contains twice as much mercury as skipjack tuna, which is typically marketed as light or chunk light tuna. This is not a major health issue right now, but it may be wise to perform further research on this inorganic metal contaminant in tuna. (Burger and Gochfeld, 2004)
Allison Poor (editor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
Michael Hwang (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Kevin Wehrly (editor, instructor), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
- Atlantic Ocean
the body of water between Africa, Europe, the southern ocean (above 60 degrees south latitude), and the western hemisphere. It is the second largest ocean in the world after the Pacific Ocean.
- Pacific Ocean
body of water between the southern ocean (above 60 degrees south latitude), Australia, Asia, and the western hemisphere. This is the world's largest ocean, covering about 28% of the world's surface.
uses sound to communicate
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
- external fertilization
fertilization takes place outside the female's body
union of egg and spermatozoan
A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
makes seasonal movements between breeding and wintering grounds
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
specialized for swimming
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
An aquatic biome consisting of the open ocean, far from land, does not include sea bottom (benthic zone).
photosynthetic or plant constituent of plankton; mainly unicellular algae. (Compare to zooplankton.)
an animal that mainly eats fish
the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.
- saltwater or marine
mainly lives in oceans, seas, or other bodies of salt water.
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
associates with others of its species; forms social groups.
uses touch to communicate
uses sight to communicate
animal constituent of plankton; mainly small crustaceans and fish larvae. (Compare to phytoplankton.)
Bard, F. 2001. Extension of Geographical and Vertical Habitat of Albacore (Thunnus alalunga) in the North Atlantic Possible Consequences on True Rate of Exploitation of this Stock. ICCAT, 52/4: 1447-1456.
Bernard, H., J. Hedgepeth, S. Reilly. 1985. Stomach Contents of Albacore, Skipjack, and Bonito Caught Off Southern California During Summer 1983. CaCOFL Rep, 26: 175-183.
Burger, J., M. Gochfeld. 2004. Mercury in canned tuna: white versus light and temporal variation. Environmental Research, 96: 239-259.
Chen, I., P. Lee, W. Tzeng. 2005. Distribution of albacore (Thunnus albacore) in the Indian Ocean and its relation to environmental factors. Fisheries Oceanography, 14/1: 70-80.
Collette, B., C. Nauen. 1983. Scombrids of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of tunas, mackerels, bonitos and related species known to date. FAO species catalogue, 2: 137.
Essington, T. 2003. Development and Sensitivity Analysis of Bioenergetics Models for Skipjack Tuna and Albacore: A Comparison of Alternative Life Histories. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 132: 759-770.
Megalofonou, P. 2000. Age and growth of Mediterranean albacore. Journal of Fish Biology, 57: 700-715.
Santiago, J., H. Arrizabalaga. 2005. An integrated growth study for North Atlantic albacore (Thunnus alalunga Bonn. 1788). Journal of Marine Science, 62: 740-749.
Uozumi, Y. 2004. "Thunnus alalunga" (On-line). 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Accessed December 16, 2005 at www.redlist.org.
Von der Emde, G., J. Mogdans, B. Kapoor. 2004. The senses of fish : adaptations for the reception of natural stimuli. Boston: Kluwer.
Watanabe, H., T. Kubodera, S. Masuda, S. Kawahara. 2004. Feeding habits of albacore Thunnus alalunga in the transition region of the central North Pacific. Fisheries Science, 70: 573-579.