Pomatomus saltatrix

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Source: nefsc.noaa.gov

Habitat

The bluefish is normally found in temperate and tropical habitats around estuaries and continental shelves. They are most commonly found along high energy beaches. Bluefish can be found at depths ranging from 2m to 200m.

Range

This is almost a worldwide species. The only areas they are absent from are the northern and central Pacific Ocean.

Description

General Characteristics

Bluefish are laterally compressed fish. They have a large head with an obliquely set mouth. The lower jaw projects from the mouth and houses a row of teeth. They have a bluish or greenish color to them which fades to a lighter, silver color toward its underbelly. They can be identified by small dark patches around the base of their pectoral fins. Their bodies are covered in ctenoid scales, though the top of the head and a part of the cheek are left bare.

Specific Characteristics

The bluefish has 8-9 spines in the dorsal fin which are separated by the notches formed from the 24-25 soft rays of the fin. This fish has been abserved to grow to weigh 14.4kg and 1m in length. They can live 9-11 years.

Ecological Notes

Pomatomus saltatrix reach sexual maturity around their second year of life. The male bluefish normally can reach sexual maturity befor the females. Spawning for this fish normally occurs around May.

The bluefish eating style is opportunistic. They rely on their sight for finding prey, and their diet depends on what food is available. The different stages of their life cyle has different prey. The larvae normally prey on copepods, cladocerans, and invertebrate eggs. The juvenile bluefish have been found to prey upon small shrimp, crabs, anchovies, killifishes, and silversides. Adults prey on schooling fishes.

The bluefishes major threat would be sport fishing. They are a huge gamefish in Florida, and large amounts of them are fished by sport fishermen. However, they are not in danger of extinction. They do have competition between other marine organisms though, which include Spanish mackerel, weakfish, striped bass, king mackerel, little tunny, and bonito.

Sources and Readings

Further Readings:

Bell, G. W., Buckel, J. A., & Stoner, A. W. (1999). Effects of Alternative Prey on Cannibalism in Age-1 Bluefish. Journal of Fish Biology, 55, 990-1000.

The researchers observed the cannibalistic behavior of bluefish at age 1. They offered the bluefish different prey, such as silversides and younger bluefish. The researchers then observed the eating behaviors of the fish to see whether they had cannibalistic tenancies.

Burger, J. (2009). Risk to Consumers from Mercury in Bluefish (Pomatomussaltatrix) from New Jersey: Size, Season and Geographical Effects. Environmental Research, 109, 803-811.

The researcher studied the abundance of mercury in bluefish found in New Jersey. They found that the mercury levels, although present, were not high enough to cause a harmful affect on the consumers. They tried to find a relationship in the levels of mercury to the counteractive element, selenium. They also studied the relationship of mercury levels to the size of the fish.
Other Sources:

http://www.sms.si.edu/irlspec/pomatom_saltat.htm