The striped marlin, Kajikia audax, is a popular species of billfish with a distinctive appearance, which includes bluish stripes on the sides running down its sides and a long, pointed bill. It is a large and impressive fish known for its incredible speed and fighting ability. Moreover, it’s found mainly in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. However, given that it’s a highly migratory species, you can find large schools of this billfish species in tropical and temperate waters worldwide.
This article carefully examines the striped marlin, exploring its appearance, habitat, diet, reproduction, and threats. We also answer your pressing questions about the striped marlin detail at the end.
The striped marlin is a pelagic species measuring an average length of 2.9 meters (9.5 feet). Moreover, it can weigh over 200 kilograms (440 pounds).
This fascinating species of marlin also has a distinctive appearance. Its body is compressed and torpedo-like. Each also has 42 to 48 rays on the taller first dorsal fin. At the same time, this fish has 12-20 bluish stripes on the sides.
If that’s not enough, the striped marlin has a dark blue or purple back and silver-white belly. From this, you can see clearly what makes it one of the most impressive-looking fish in the ocean.
Like other marlin species, the striped marlin is a highly migratory species found in the Indo-Pacific Oceans and other tropical and temperate waters worldwide. You can rightly associate this game fish with areas of high productivity, such as upwelling zones.
However, they are most commonly found in waters between 20 and 28 degrees Celsius (68 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit). In other words, they often migrate in response to changes in temperature and other environmental factors.
Notably, the striped marlin is a pelagic species. So, you can find them in large schools in the open ocean.
The striped marlin is a highly active predator that feeds on various fish and cephalopods. Their main diet includes small tuna, mackerel, squid, and other aquatic species. They also feed on smaller billfish species, such as sailfish and spearfish.
Striped marlin is a highly skilled hunter that uses its speed and agility to chase down prey. They are known for their spectacular feeding displays, in which they will slash through schools of baitfish with their bills.
The striped marlin can begin to spawn in the open ocean at about one or two years old.
While studies on the billfish’s reproductive biology are still underway, there’s evidence that males reach the sexual maturity age when they are about 1.4 meters (4.6 feet). However, for females, it is approximately 1.8 meters (5.9 feet). This length implies that females typically start reproducing at about 1.5 to 2.5 years.
Female striped marlins release millions of eggs, and the males fertilize them externally.
Despite the striped marlin’s impressive size and strength, it’s facing several threats, as shown in the image below.
One of the main ones is overfishing. These are highly valued game fish that commercial and recreational anglers worldwide target.
Besides, their meat is prized for its high quality and is often sold in restaurants and markets.
Other than overfishing, habitat destruction can lead to losing important breeding and feeding areas for striped marlin. Climate change may also have an impact on their distribution and abundance. Why? It can alter ocean currents and temperatures, affecting food availability and the suitability of different habitats.
Facts About Striped Marlin
- Striped marlin is one of the most popular game fish in the world, prized for their impressive size and fighting ability.
- They are known for their spectacular aerial displays, in which they leap out of the water and twist and turn in the air.
- The striped marlin is one of the fastest fish in the ocean, capable of reaching up to 80 kilometers per hour (50 miles per hour).
- They are apex predators and play an important role in the marine ecosystem, helping to control smaller fish populations and maintain a healthy balance.
- Striped marlin is found in the world’s oceans but most commonly in the Pacific Ocean.
- They are highly migratory and undertake long migrations between different ocean areas in response to temperature changes and other environmental factors.
Can you eat striped marlin?
Yes, you can eat striped marlin. However, you should purchase it from a reputable supplier that follows proper food safety protocols. Also, note that some health experts advise limiting the consumption of predatory fish, including striped marlin, due to their high mercury content. Consuming high levels of mercury can lead to health problems.
Is striped marlin rare?
No, the striped marlin population is sustainable. The International Union for Conservation of Nature classified it in 2021 as a species of “Least Concern.” This status means it is not considered at high risk of extinction. However, the IUCN notes that the population trend for striped marlin is decreasing. It’s listed as “Vulnerable” in some regions, such as the Eastern Pacific.
What is the lifespan of striped marlin?
The lifespan of striped marlin is estimated to be around 15 to 20 years. Unfortunately, overfishing and habitat loss are some factors that impact their lifespan. So, it is important to manage striped marlin fishing sustainably to help their populations recover and thrive in the wild. Striped marlins are fast-growing fish and can reach sexual maturity at around 1.5 to 2.5 years.
Which are the close relatives of striped marlin?
The striped marlin (Kajikia audax) belongs to the family Istiophoridae, which includes several species of billfish, such as blue marlin, black marlin, sailfish, and swordfish. These fish are known for their long bills or swords, which they use to stun or kill their prey.
The lifespan of the striped marlin is similar to many billfish species. However, some, like the swordfish, can live up to 9 years longer than striped marlin.