Coryphaena hippurus

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The common dolphinfish, or mahi mahi, is a marine organism that is normally found in brackish water. It is a pelagic-neritic fish, meaning it is found in the open ocean but normally in shallow, coastal waters. However, the dolphinfish has been known as a highly migratory species so it can be found in different parts of the ocean depending on the time of year.


The dolphin fish is found in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. It normally will be found in the tropical and subtropic waters of these oceans.


General Features

The dolphinfish has many colors to it such as gold on its sides, metallic greens and blues on the sides and back, and white and yellow coloring its underside. It has a dorsal fin that extends from the eyes just about to the caudal fin. The anal fin extends from the anus and almost reaches the caudal fin. Also, their pectoral fins are almost the same length as their heads.

Specific Features

The dolphinfish can be identified by its specific physical features. It normally has 58-66 dorsal soft rays, 25-31 anal soft rays, and 31 vertibrae.

Males usually have a more prominent crest of bone on the front of their heads, which distinguishes them from the females

Ecological Notes

Dolphinfish have been known to swim in schools. They also aggregate when spawning, and have been found to choose areas with floating bundles of plants or other materials. Normally they will spawn in open ocean or along the coastline when the temperatures rise. Their eggs and larvae are pelagic. The fish reaches its sexual maturity at around 4-5 months under natural conditions. The adults consume almost all types of fish and zooplankton, and somtimes eat crustaceans and squid when available.

Sources and Readings

For further readings:

Adams, D. H. (2009). Consistently Low Mercury Concentrations in Dolphinfish, Coryphaenahippurus, An Oceanic Pelagic Predator. Environmental Research, 109, 697-701.

The researcher studied the mercury levels of many fish in the waters of the southeastern Unites States. They found the results that the dolphinfish had consistently lower levels of mercury than fish that were similar to them. They also tried to determine what influences higher levels of mercury in the fish.

Alejo-Plata, C., Diaz-Jiames, P., & Salgado-Ugarte, I. H. (2011). Sex Ratios, Size at Sexual Maturity, and Spawning Seasonality of Dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) Captured in the Gulf of Tehuantepec, Mexico. Fisheries Research, 110, 207-216.

The article examines the dolphinfish as it reaches sexual maturity, and during sexual maturity. The journalists studied 7371 dolphinfish in Tehuantepec, Mexico to determine the time it took to reach sexual maturity and their size once they reached it, the times in which they spawned, and their gender ratio.
Other Sources: