The Yellowfin Tuna is a species in the taxonomic genus Thunnus. Researchers split this genus into two primary groups, the “bluefin group” and the “yellowfin group.”
Though people refer to several species as “bluefins” within the yellowfin group, only one species goes by the name “yellowfin” Thunnus albacares. Read on to learn about the Yellowfin Tuna.
Description of the Yellowfin Tuna
True to its name, this species has a yellowish tint to its fins. Of these yellow fins, the pectoral fins on either side of the fish grow somewhat larger than other related species. Additionally, you can recognize this fish by the lengthy second dorsal and anal fins that curve up and backwards from its body.
Though this species is not the largest of the various tunas, it does reach impressive sizes. Particularly hefty individuals can surpass 400 lbs. and measure up to 7.8 ft. long.
Interesting Facts About the Yellowfin Tuna
This fish species has a number of unique traits and characteristics. Learn more about what makes them unique, below.
- Swift Predators – While pursuing prey, this species can reach speeds up to 50 mph! It has a powerful, muscular body that makes it a speedy swimmer.
- What’s the Deal with the Name? – Instead of our regular “What’s in a Name?” section, this species needs a little clarification on confusion and mix-up with its name. Despite the scientific name albacares, the term “albacore tuna” refers to a different species entirely.
- What’s Even More Confusing – To make matters more confusing, people in France and Portugal refer to this species as “albacore” and “albacares” respectively. The species name “albacares” refers to the white color of the fish’s meat.
- Sashimi and Sushi – The fish that people catch commercially for canning do not serve the same quality meat as those in sushi. In fact, fishermen specifically target large fish that live in deeper waters for their quality meat.
Habitat of the Yellowfin Tuna
This species inhabits pelagic waters, or areas not associated directly with the shore or the sea floor. More specifically, these open ocean fish prefer epipelagic zones, which consist of regions only as deep as light penetrates. Most live between the surface and 330 ft. deep.
Distribution of the Yellowfin Tuna
You can find this species in oceans worldwide. They live in regions with tropical, subtropical, or temperate climates. Some also range into areas close to the coast, particularly in areas with deep drop-offs right off shore. You can find these fish in the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and more.
Diet of the Yellowfin Tuna
This fish has carnivorous feeding habits, which means that they feed on other animals. More specifically, they have piscivorous diets, and primarily feed on fish and similar prey. Smaller fish species and squid make up the majority of their diet. They also feed on crustaceans, such as shrimp and krill.
Yellowfin Tuna and Human Interaction
Humans have historically utilized this tuna species as a source of food, and still do to this day. People catch these fish in large numbers, and this activity has actively depleted populations as a whole, and severely depleted populations in specific regions as well. The IUCN currently lists this species as Near Threatened.
In addition to the threat overfishing poses to this species, commercial fisheries also accidentally catch and kill other fish species, dolphins, seabirds, manta rays, sharks, and other marine creatures as bycatch.
Humans have not domesticated this fish in any way.
Does the Yellowfin Tuna Make a Good Pet
No, you cannot keep this fish as a pet. They reach sizes much too large to keep in a home aquarium.
Yellowfin Tuna Care
Because these fish live pelagic lifestyles, they require massive tanks with lots of space to swim. Few facilities can properly care for fish of this size and nature. In addition, because they have a social nature they must also live in groups, greatly increasing the resources required for their care. Their diet typically consists of a variety of fish and squid.
Behavior of the Yellowfin Tuna
This tuna species prefers social living, and congregates in groups known as schools. Schools typically contain members that have a similar size. Some schools also contain a variety of other predatory fish species as well. This species in particular is known to swim near pods of dolphins and porpoises, and congregate near floating debris at the surface of the water.
Reproduction of the Yellowfin Tuna
These fish reproduce via spawning, where the female releases her eggs and the male fertilizes them outside of the body. Over a period of several days, the entire group of fish spawns multiple times. Breeding occurs at night, and is typically triggered by temperature.