Fun Dogtooth Tuna Facts For Kids

Christian Mba
Feb 21, 2024 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Yashvee Patel
There are many interesting dogtooth tuna facts for kids
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.3 Min

Found in the coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific including the Red Sea and East Africa to French Polynesia, along with south to Australia, and north to Japan, the dogtooth tuna are an offshore species. It is generally a solitary fish or occurs in six or less of its kind. They are pelagic marine fish species, which belongs to the Scombridae family. Gymnosarda unicolor is their scientific name. They are big in size, with silver, dark blue colored skin and a strongly visible lateral line, along with strong fins. It is quite popular among people to go for dogtooth tuna fishing for marketed canned and tin fish.

They are solitary or small schooling fishes and migratory fish which generally lives in water temperature of between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. There are 15 species and a wide variety of subspecies, along with four main varieties of tuna that have been discovered so far. Given their large size, which can grow up to 130 kg and 3 m, they can be easily spotted. Dogtooth tuna (Gymnosarda unicolor), among other fish species, is considered to be one of the best-known delicacies in the world. Their impressive array of canine-like teeth gives it a dogtooth name. Read on for more fascinating facts.

You may also be interested to check out other similar species, including yellowfin tuna and skipjack tuna.

Dogtooth Tuna Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a dogtooth tuna?

A dogtooth tuna (Gymnosarda unicolor) is a saltwater fish which are huge in size and can grow to more than 120 kg during maturity.

What class of animal does a dogtooth tuna belong to?

Given its structure of the ray fin it inherits, it belongs to the class of Actinopterygii.

How many dogtooth tunas are there in the world?

The total number of these species that are present in the world's ocean is unknown. They give birth to millions of juvenile dogtooth tuna, but not all survive.

Where does a dogtooth tuna live?

Generally known to live in tropical and moderate water temperatures. Since they are migratory fish, any change in weather conditions pushes them to migrate. They prefer saltwater rather than freshwater and are abundantly found in the Indian ocean.

What is a dogtooth tuna's habitat?

Commonly found in the coral reefs as deep as 50-150 ft, they are also known to come inshore. Between 21-26 degrees Celsius water temperatures are highly preferred by them for their habitat. The dogtooth tuna habitat can be found commonly in a moderate sea depth.

Who do dogtooth tunas live with?

Given their solitary nature, they tend to stay by themselves, and rarely, you can find them in small schools or in a group of three to six.

How long does a dogtooth tuna live?

The dogtooth tuna (Gymnosarda unicolor), which is also known as a white tuna can generally live up to eight years. But most of them get caught by fishermen even before they live up to eight years.

How do they reproduce?

The spawning season of the dogtooth tuna begins from the month of December to February. They are open water egg scatterers and non-guarders. Females can lay between 5-45 million eggs, and sometimes even more. The small, tiny eggs float near the surface and hatch within two days. The size of these fish babies is around 0.25 in long at birth, and they grow quite fast.

What is their conservation status?

With millions of eggs that they produce every year, the population of this pelagic fish in many islands is increasing as much as they are caught for culinary purposes. Therefore, the conservation status of the dogtooth fish is of Least Concern.

Dogtooth Tuna Fun Facts

What do dogtooth tunas look like?

Being a member of the mackerel species, their distinguishing features includes an elongated streamline body, anal spines, a mouth filled with sharp dog-like conical teeth on the upper jaw, with a large big head. They have two dorsal fins with the first one being large and spiny, and the second one behind its soft-rayed. As a mackerel fish, they have thin, smooth, and shiny skin with a strongly undulating lateral line. They have silver sides, a blue-green dorsal surface, and a white belly. This species has no scales since it exhibits countershading. The average weight of the fish is 705-1763 oz (20-50 kg), with a length of 15-50 in (40-127 cm). Their sharp teeth indicate that they are fierce predators of the sea.

This fish species are saltwater or marine fish.

How cute are they?

We are known for sure that we would not want to get close to dogtooth fish while swimming or without safety equipment. Its big size, along with its sharp scary teeth and good swimming speed are signs that they can rip its food apart in several seconds. Therefore, we can say that they are not a cute fish.

How do they communicate?

Since they are solitary animals, they rarely communicate or any means of their communication hasn't been observed and is unknown.

How big is a dogtooth tuna?

The length of the dogtooth is between 15-50 in which is between 40-127 cm.

How fast can a dogtooth tuna swim?

They are highly capable of reaching a high speed of up to 50 mph (80 kph) as they are among the predators of the sea with strong fins and sharp teeth. Their swimming speed increases rapidly, especially when they chase their target.

How much does a dogtooth tuna weigh?

The average weight of this species can weigh between 705-1763 oz (20-50 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names given to describe the male and female of the species.

What would you call a baby dogtooth tuna?

The young of the species are simply called baby or small fish.

What do they eat?

Their daily diet consists of other smaller fishes, mackerel, reel fish, squids, or any fishes that fit its big jaw.

Are they eaten by humans?

Dogtooth tuna meat is one of the popular and highly prized seafood delicacies in the world, and you can find it in many seafood restaurants in different recipes. It is rich in iron and omega fat, and is found to be quite healthy for humans. But you must make sure to have it in moderate due to its strong iron mercury content since over-consumption can be hazardous to health. Salad, sushi, and curry are the commonly known dogtooth tuna fish recipes. It is popularly served cold or chilled as sushi or cooked with spices and citrus ingredients in a curry. Commercial fishing or overfishing of the fish seem to pose a threat to the species population.

Would they make a good pet?

Considering their size and predatory nature, they would not make a great pet. They are scary and dangerous to be a pet. But many people have raised the fish for commercial fishing in and around the Pacific islands for culinary purposes and so that they do not pose a threat to the fish population.

Did you know...

The dogtooth tuna spearfishing record weighs 55 kg, while the all tackle record is 131 kg.

This species is known to form schools or groups of the same similar size and when encountered with small schooling fishes, feeding frenzies are common.

Large dogtooth tuna tend to be independent but sometimes swim with grey reef sharks.

The dogtooth tuna teeth can rip small fishes within seconds, and their meat is whiter than other types of tuna.

Dogtooth tuna can be caught with live baits or a trolled lure. Repeatedly reeling the lure can better entice these fishes to take the bait sometimes.

Dogtooth tuna products

These fishes are usually used to make food products like canned fish, sushi, and can be bought frozen or chilled. They are a significant food source for humans.

Where to catch dogtooth tuna?

These fishes have a wide distribution and can be found specifically in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, south to Australia, on the coast of Japan, and other Pacific islands.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including prawn, or albacore.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Doogtooth tuna coloring pages.

Dogtooth tuna Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Mackerel, cuttlefish, reef fish

What Type of Animal were they?

Squid, sprats, fish

Average Litter Size?

5-45 million eggs

How Much Did They Weigh?

705-1763 oz (20-50 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

tropical waters, ocean

Where Do They Live?

indo-pacific area, the eastern coast of africa, french polynesia, pacific ocean islands, south to australia, north to japan

How Long Were They?

15-50 in (40-127 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Gymnosarda unicolor

What Do They Look Like?

Purple, green, blue, silver, lateral line

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?

commercial net fishing, overfishing

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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