Fun Atlantic Bonito Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Jan 05, 2023 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Read these interesting Atlantic bonito facts to learn more about this species of fish that lives in brackish waters.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.5 Min

The Atlantic bonito (Sarda sarda) is a large mackerel-like fish in the Scombridae tribe. Its range includes shallow coastal and offshore water in South America, the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and the Black Sea, where it is considered to be a valuable commercial and game fish.

It is found at the bottom of the ocean. It has a fully-scaled body, and it is one such species that has its dorsal fin separated by a narrow interspace.

They are mainly silver in color and have a bluish-green dorsal fin, and are known for their dark stripes extending from their back.

They are caught as catch near the coast. They are found in exceptionally large numbers in the oceanic waters of the Atlantic.

This species can be found all over the Atlantic Ocean's length and width. However, the Gulf of Mexico is their most popular destination, with the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea appearing occasionally.

Bonito is Sarda sarda, squaring them back to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, anchoring them in the Scombridae family of other tunas and mackerel. They bear perfect racing stripes broken intermittently by brushes of wide shadows over some magically iridescent skin.

Euthynnus alletteratus, popularly known as bonita, is a member of the Scombridae family. It is not the same as a bonito.

The false albacore is toothless and unfit to consume. Solid lines extend from head to tail on the top part of the Atlantic bonito, as well as teeth. The false albacore has broken or squiggly lines, spots below the lateral line, and no teeth.

If you like this article , then you must also read our lungfish and guppy facts.

Atlantic Bonito Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Atlantic bonito?

The Atlantic bonito is a fish of the family Scombridae.

What class of animal does an Atlantic bonito belong to?

It belongs to the class Actinopterygii.

How many Atlantic bonito are there in the world?

The exact number of Atlantic bonitos is unknown, but these fish have a wide range and are found in large numbers in shallow water like in Mexico and waters of the Atlantic ocean.

Where does an Atlantic bonito live?

Atlantic bonito lives in the ocean. Therefore, Atlantic bonitos are commonly found in the shallow water of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

What is an Atlantic bonito habitat?

Atlantic bonitos live in ocean waters. The habitat of an Atlantic bonito is brackish saltwater environments, although this migratory population is mostly found in the coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

They are pelagic fish, which means they live in the middle of the ocean rather than at sea. They adapt to subtle shifts in degrees rather than abrupt environmental changes. It's found in shallow waters in the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Black Sea, where it's a valuable commercial and game fish.

Who do Atlantic bonito live with?

Atlantic bonito live in large schools numbering in the thousands. These large schools feed on the water's surface, pursuing their prey and sometimes leaping over the water's surface in the process.

This attracts the interest of seabirds searching for food, making it easier for anglers to spot this species. In addition, tuna anglers sometimes catch Atlantic bonito when trolling for the larger games with pound nets.

How long does an Atlantic bonito live?

The average lifespan of an Atlantic bonito (Sarda sarda) is around 8-12 years.

How do they reproduce?

The mode of reproduction of Atlantic bonito is still a mystery. It is known that they reproduce through spawning, but very little is known beyond that. There are many research studies in progress to determine the mode of reproduction used by this species of fish.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN, Atlantic bonito has been categorized as Least Concern.

Atlantic Bonito Fun Facts

What do Atlantic bonito look like?

They are mostly silver in color, with blue-green dorsal fins and black streaks running the length of their bodies. The dorsal fins of Atlantic bonito (Sarda sarda) are close together or separated by a small interspace.

It has a fully scaled body, with scales on the pectoral fin and lateral line being the largest. Atlantic bonitos are distinguished from tuna by their flattened bodies, lack of teeth on the roof of the mouth, and color distinctions.

The Atlantic bonito differs from its relatives by having dark oblique streaks on the back and a maxillary that is just about half the length of the head.

In contrast, the striped bonito has almost horizontal stripes on the topside and a maxillary that is more than half the length of the head. They are often caught using pound nets.


How cute are they?

The Atlantic bonito is not at all cute. It looks like any ordinary fish, and there is nothing special about its appearance.

How do they communicate?

These fish are normally found in deep seas, but they may come close to the shore of tropical waters if they believe there is plenty of food for them. They like to swim in large groups and have little trouble adjusting to changing food and habitat environments.

They get along swimmingly with other fish species (such as dolphins and whales) and can even migrate in the same pod.

How big is an Atlantic bonito?

The Atlantic bonito has an average length of 20-30 in (50-75 cm) and can be as large as 36 in (91 cm). It comes in a variety of sizes, however, most bonitos are about 30 in (75 cm) in length.

How fast can an Atlantic bonito swim?

Atlantic bonitos are fast fish due to their sleek appearance and muscular build. Some species can swim at speeds of up to 40 mph (64 kph), which is remarkable considering their small size.

Their quickness is primarily attributed to certain physiological adaptations shared by the Scrombidae family. They also have a broad caudal (tail) fin that propels them forward.

They can effectively convert the effort into fast acceleration and incredible top speeds – thanks to their tight muscles that help hold the body rigid as their tail swings side-to-side. These characteristics aid in both the detection of prey and the avoidance of predators.

How much does an Atlantic bonito weigh?

An Atlantic bonito can weigh anywhere between 11-13 lb (5-6 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name for male and female Atlantic bonito.

What would you call a baby Atlantic bonito?

There is no specific term for a baby Atlantic bonito.

What do they eat?

Since the Atlantic bonito is a ram ventilator, it can't bite. It must consume its prey whole, and hence schools of bonitos have a diet that consists mostly of smaller fish such as mackerel, menhaden, squid pieces, alewives, sardines, and sand lance.

Larger fish such as salmon, marlin, and wahoo are predators of the Atlantic bonito.

Are they poisonous?

No, Atlantic bonitos are not poisonous. They are caught as catch and eaten by people.

Would they make a good pet?

No, because of the size of Atlantic bonito and the fact that they can weigh anywhere between 11-13 lb (5-6 kg), they would not make good pets, but they make a good catch. Moreover, it is absurd to keep an edible catch fish as a pet.

Did you know...

The fish, Atlantic bonito, is often confused with the skipjack tuna species because of their remarkably similar appearance. The skipjack is named so because of its habit of jumping from the water, whereas, the Atlantic bonito is a surface feeder.

Do bonitos have teeth?

The Atlantic bonito is a species of fish that has very sharp, conical teeth.

Is bonito a tuna?

Bonito is a tuna-related species that is not allowed to be sold as tuna in many countries. Despite being related, these two are different species. Bonito is very common in the Mediterranean region as a fried fish with olive oil. It is well suited for eating due to its small size and firm dark meat.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal info for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our silky shark facts and lanternfish facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Atlantic bonito coloring pages.

*Please note that the main image is of a tuna, not an Atlantic bonito. If you have an image of an Atlantic bonito, please let us know at

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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

Pradhanya Rao picture

Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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