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Home > Biological Info > Atlantic Bonito

Biological Info: Atlantic Bonito

Atlantic Bonito

Scientific Name:
Sarda sarda
Common Names:
Northern Bonito, Common Bonito, Oceanic Bonito
Range & Habitat:
Relatively rare in the Gulf of Mexico, but scattered reports occur, most commonly from the northern and northeastern Gulf. It is most common in open coastal waters.
Identification & Biology:

This is a small and quite streamlined tuna. It is the only tuna with longitudinal stripes on its back. The skipjack tuna has longitudinal lines, but they are on the belly rather than the back. The back and upper sides are steel-blue.

Atlantic bonito are relentless predators from the time they hatch. Adults eat all types of fish, including herrings, menhaden, hake, mackerels, anchovies, as well as shrimp and squid. They are known to live at least 9 years, but are not large fish. They typically reach sexual maturity at age 2. Spawning takes place in the early summer. On the Atlantic coast, where they are more common, Atlantic bonito form large schools, often mixed with bluefish and mackerel.


Common to 2 feet and 4-5 pounds. It can occasionally reach 12-15 pounds in weight, and rarely over 20 pounds.

Food Value:
Good, but not as often eaten as other tunas, perhaps because of its small size.

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