Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The King Mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla) is a migratory species of mackerel that lives its entire life in the open waters of the western Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. It is an important species to both the commercial and recreational fishing industries.
King Mackerels are found in subtropical waters and are considered a pelagic fish. They feed on smaller fish and squid, often using their razor sharp triangular teeth to cut their prey in half, before returning to eat the remainder.
The King Mackerel has a similar body to other members of the family, and is often confused for the smaller Spanish Mackerel by anglers. Young King Mackerel will exibit light yellow spots, approximately 1 cm in diameter, on their sides. This is very similar to the Spanish Mackerel, which keeps its spots throughout its life, and what leads to most of the confusion.
King Mackerel are silver to grey in color with purple and green iridescence on live fish immediately after being pulled from the water. They also have a distinct lateral line running the length of their body. This line makes a sharp drop from the dorsal side toward the ventral side of the fish, approximately 3/5 of the way down the fish. This drop in the lateral line is considered to be distinctive and characteristic of the King Mackerel, and can be used to distinguish it from other similar mackerel species.
King Mackerels are common up to 1 meter and 15 kg, but have been reported up to 184 cm in length and 45 kg weight.
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