The Dolphinfish – Learning about the Mahi Mahi

shutterstock_126896906The origin of the name of the dolphinfish is unknown, but there are several speculations about it, These include the fact that they swim with dolphins frequently, as well as jump out of the water when chasing their prey in imitation of the mammal. There are two species of dolphinfish: the common dolphinfish and the pompano dolphin. Both species can be found in the same habitat and, even though the pompano dolphin is smaller in length, they are so similar in appearance that they are normally referred to as the same fish. Another name for the dolphinfish is the mahi-mahi (or mahi mahi), which means strong in Hawaiian.

Dolphinfish can be found in offshore temperate, subtropical and tropical waters. They are surface dwellers and known for their beautiful appearance and bright colours. These normally include a dazzling golden hue on the sides, and a combination of blues and greens on their backs. As a dolphinfish is perishing it will gradually lose its colouring, eventually becoming a dull yellowish shade of grey upon death. In addition to their dominant colours, they may have three diagonal black stripes on each side.

Mahi mahi have compressed bodies, and a single dorsal fin extending along their entire length. Their pectoral fins are an iridescent blue, and both their anal and caudal fins are crescent shaped.  The common dolphinfish can grow to be as long as 6 feet, and weigh between 80 and 90 pounds. Mature males have prominent foreheads, whereas the females have rounded heads and are usually smaller. They normally live between 4 and 5 years, reaching sexual maturity by the time they are 4 or 5 months due to their quick growth rate.

shutterstock_266365781Females spawn 2-3 times per year and lay between 80,000 and 100, 000 eggs each time. They spawn in warm ocean currents and their larvae can normally be found in seaweed. Microscopic larvae can grow to be a foot and a half within 3 months of being born. Their survival rate is also very high making it unlikely that the species will become endangered, even though they are frequently caught for both sport and consumption.

Mahi mahi live in large schools, and are attracted to floating objects such as logs where they find prey hiding. Their diet mainly consists of flying fish, squid, mackerel and crabs. Due to their long, slender bodies dolphinfish are fast swimmers, and their strength ensures that they put up a good fight whenever caught. This makes them popular among sport fishers, who will toss live sardines into the water, causing the dolphinfish to begin a feeding frenzy. Lines are then cast into the midst in order to hook the fish, which puts up a spectacular display of colour flashes in its attempt to escape.

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One Comment on “The Dolphinfish – Learning about the Mahi Mahi

  1. Pingback: Author’s Guide to Dorado Duet: Big Boats, Big Gators and the Dorado in Duet | Steven Becker

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