Fun Scombridae Facts For Kids

Ritwik Bhuyan
May 03, 2023 By Ritwik Bhuyan
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Shray Sharma
Read on to know amazing facts about Scombridae.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.1 Min

Fish has always been an important source of protein for humans for a long time now, and the family Scombridae includes some of the world's most popular fish food choices.

Not only food but the family Scombridae also includes many species of sport fishes and also has the fastest high-speed swimming fish and the biggest bony fish in the family.

The family Scombridae also includes tunas, mackerels, and bonitos fishes which are collectively called Scombrids.

The family Scombridae consists of 51 species and two subfamilies. The subfamily Scombrinae has four genera (Scombrini, Scomberomorini, Sardini, and Thunnini) which are separated by the characteristic internal bones of the fishes.

This discovery was found and put on record and cited by Collette and Chao in 1975 and Collette and Russo in 1979. The classification of the family Scombridae is categorized by the mode of insertion of the caudal fin rays. The caudal fin here is divided strongly and has a slender, ridged base.

A family of fishes found in the tropical and temperate waters of the ocean, the fish in the family Scombridae possess considerable speed and some fishes are also partially endothermic. We will read further about the family Scombridae in the next topics.

You can also read some interesting facts about the Meagre Fish, a member of the same class of Actinopterygii, and the Sanddollar right here.

Scombridae Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Scombridae?

The family Scombridae is a family of fish that has four different genera.

What class of animal does a Scombridae belong to?

All the fish species of the family Scombridae falls under the class of Actinopterygii in the kingdom of Animalia.

How many Scombridaes are there in the world?

The total population of the mackerels, tunas, and bonitos is undefined. But 74% of the population has seen a decline between 1970-2010.

Where does a Scombridae live?

Scombrids are called the predators of the open ocean. They can be found worldwide in tropical and temperate waters of the ocean.

These fishes, tunas, and mackerels are found living in the open ocean in tropic and sub-tropical seas. Only a few travel to cold temperate waters in different seasons. Except for the smaller mackerels that usually stay near coastlines, the bigger mackerels roam the deeper waters.

Some of the species are found in brackish waters, but mostly these species are a marine family. The species of Thunnus maccoyii, Thunnus obesus, Thunnus alalunga, and Thunnus tonggol are found to carry out transoceanic migrations.

What is a Scombridae's habitat?

The species of mackerel fish and tunas are found all over the world in the seas of tropical and sub-tropical nature. All four genera of the tunas, mackerel, and bonitos are found all over the world where they are used as sport species and they are also a species that is extensively used as food.

Tuna is a great example of that and is used in many forms to be eaten.

Scombrids are generally predators in the marine world. Due to their highly streamlined body and retractable fins, they are very good at swimming and can attain high speeds. Tunas are endothermic which helps them to maintain high speed. They also have a large amount of red muscle, giving them endurance in the open seas.

Who does Scombridaes live with?

Some species are found near the surface, while the other ones are found in deep water and move about from one habitat to another. Tunas always come first when we talk about the family of Scombridae as they are widely found all over the world.

They are usually found in small schools. Some can be even found singly in the water.

How long does a Scombridae live?

The age of the family of Scombridae varies with each species. The Atlantic Bluefin tuna has a maximum age of 35-50 years, while the Southern Bluefin tuna lives up to 20-40 years.

The albacore tuna is known to survive for 9-13 years.

The Indian mackerel lives for just four years, while the Chub mackerel lives for 18 years. The life of the tuna and the mackerel also depends on the fish being the source of feeding millions of people all around the world, with a new population getting hunted every day.

How do they reproduce?

Except for the bluefin tuna, the Scombrids are known to spawn repeatedly. The Atlantic mackerel spawn the whole summer season. Some other mackerels are known to spawn from September to April. Half a million eggs are laid by the females of the mackerels. The eggs float near the surface of the water. Spanish mackerel breeds in and around April.

What is their conservation status?

Most of the species are categorized as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List. The small Albacore tuna however is kept as Near Threatened.

Pacific Sierra is a small mackerel and is kept as Least Concern at the moment, like most other mackerels. However, the constant hunting and killing of fish all over the world can lead to scarcity very soon.

Scombridae Fun Facts

What does Scombridaes look like?

Scombrids have slender, streamlined bodies with large mouths and well-developed teeth. The body is colored silver, blue, and metallic and features tiny cycloid scales on the surface.

The dorsal fin has 9-27 densely packed rays, while the pelvic fins have six rays. The first dorsal fin and the pelvic fins retract into body grooves. Dorsal fins slot into grooves in the body to reduce drag while swimming.

The caudal peduncle has two keels at least to reduce drag in the water and also accelerate water flowing over the tail. Most species are pretty large and have red muscle which is buried centrally along the spinal column to conserve heat.

All four genera are made of wet, slimy scales in the body. Bodies of the genera are made of small to moderate scales. The area behind the head and around the pectoral fins are covered with moderately large, thick scales.

The fast-swimming mackerel fish and the tuna fish are known for their high-speed swimming in the ocean which have elongated and streamlined bodies. They have a series of finlets behind their dorsal fin and the anal fin. The tunas and the mackerels also have a slender caudal peduncle. Also, both species have a crescent-shaped lunate tail.

Tunas swimming in water.

How cute are they?

These fish are not considered cute.

How do they communicate?

Not much information is available related to the communication of these fishes. Usually, fishes communicate in the water by sounds and movement.

How big is a Scombridae?

Mackerel fish grow very fast and reach 9.4 in (24 cm) in a year. The Atlantic Mackerel attains a maximum length of 26 in (66 cm). Commonly, they are found to grow up to 12 in (30.5 cm).

Among the four genera, the biggest tuna fish is the Atlantic Bluefin tuna which grows up to a length of 7 ft (2.1 m). The maximum length of this tuna is 15 ft (4.6 m).

How fast can a Scombridae move?

They are known to swim at a speed of no less than 25.6 in (65 cm) per second.

How much does a Scombridae weigh?

Atlantic Mackerel weighs a maximum of up to 7.5 lb (3.4 kg). The Atlantic Bluefin tuna has a maximum weight of 1508 lb (684 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female are not given different names.

What would you call a baby Scombridae?

A baby Scombridae is called a juvenile.

What do they eat?

The feeding of the tuna and the mackerel fish of the Scombridae family ranges from a wide range of organisms. The food may include crabs, crustaceans, shrimps, squids, larvae of fish, and invertebrates.

They also feed on other fish sometimes. Tunas also feed on mackerels in some related cases. The juvenile and the large adults are seen feeding together in the water.

Are they poisonous?

They are not poisonous and are used as food all over the world.

Would they make a good pet?

Usually, these fishes are not considered pets. They are cultivated on farms but are not kept as pets in aquariums.

Did you know...

Under the family Scombridae, adaptive radiation has been said to be a part of evolutionary change. Scombrids are said to share a common ancestry with 14 other pelagic fish families in history.

Members of the 15 families are coastal and oceanic pelagic in their ecology with diverse forms of life, proving that these families, along with the Scombrids, represent undetected adaptive radiation in the pelagic world, which brought a Scombridae evolution change. The Scombridae phylogenetic tree elaborates on this classification further.

The yellowfin Tuna, a part of the Scombrids, are found to do high-speed swimming at 14 mph.

Are they dangerous?

No, this family of fish is not dangerous.

Do humans eat them?

Mostly all the species of the family of Scombridae are used as food all over the world.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our black molly Facts and Capelin Fun Facts pages.

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

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You


See All

Written by Ritwik Bhuyan

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Ritwik Bhuyan picture

Ritwik BhuyanBachelor of Arts specializing in English

A skilled content writer, Ritwik holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. He has refined his writing abilities through his past experience at PenVelope and his current role at Kidadl. In addition to his proficiency in writing, Ritwik has pursued his passion for flying by achieving CPL training and becoming a licensed commercial pilot. This diverse skill set highlights his commitment to exploring multiple fields. Ritwik's experience in the aviation industry has provided him with a unique perspective and attention to detail, which he brings to his writing.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Shray Sharma

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Computer Science Engineering

Shray Sharma picture

Shray SharmaBachelor of Technology specializing in Computer Science Engineering

As an aspiring web and app developer, Shray has a passion for working with promising startups. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Maharaja Surajmal Institute Of Technology while gaining experience in digital marketing. Shray has already earned a Google Analytics Certification and is well-equipped to handle analytics and data management tasks. He has also served as a marketing manager at Parallax Virtual Arts, where he oversaw the company's social media, content, and SEO strategies. Shray's goal is to create engaging content that resonates with audiences and offers valuable insights.

Read full bio >