The body of the striped
marlin is elongate and compressed. The upper jaw is much extended,
forming a rounded spear.
the billfishes that occur in California waters, the striped marlin
is difficult to confuse with the others. Marlin have scales, fins on
the belly, and a rounded spear which set them apart from swordfish
which have no scales or ventral fins and have bills that are flat.
Sailfish have an extremely high dorsal fin not found among the
marlins, and shortbill spearfish do not have the long spear on the
upper jaw nor the body weight of the marlin. The striped marlin
normally develops conspicuous stripes along the sides of its body
after death. This feature is unique to striped marlin.
first dorsal fin at its highest point, is from 75% to a 100% of the
body depth, measured at that point on the body, with the length
going back to almost the second dorsal fin. The striped marlin's
dorsal fin is generally higher in its total height than other marlin
species. The dorsal fin has many dark black to purplish-black spots
scattered throughout with a light purplish or violet blue
background. The anterior part of the dorsal is pointed like the blue
marlin. The second dorsal is slightly posterior to the second anal
fin and is also pointed.
pectoral fins of the striped are pointed, fold easily against the
body and are slightly shorter than the longer pectoral fins of the
sailfish. Striped marlin pectoral fins are generally straight, with
a slight curve on the bottom. However, they are not as curved as the
blue or black marlin, nor are they as wide as the blue or black
striped marlin has the most pronounced vertical line markings, hence
the name. Generally fourteen to twenty vertical stripes from the
true gill plate to the caudal peduncle. The stripes are prominent
lavender to blue in color and they appear wider than the stripes on
sailfish and seem to be made up of various size dots to form lines.
The striped can "light up" to a very brilliant lavender to purple.
The other marlin have the ability to "light up" but not to the same
intensity as the striped marlin. The body scales are covered with a
layer of heavy skin so they are not easily seen. The scales are
single or unbranched, similar to the black marlin’s only smaller.
Smaller than the
blue marlin, the striped marlin has a dark steely blue back that is
lined with dark cobalt blue or lavender stripes (coloration varies
with location), fading to a silvery white underside.
Largest recorded: 13.5 feet, 339 pounds (California); 494 pounds
Striped marlin occur in tropical and warm temperature waters of the
Indian and Pacific Oceans. On the west coast of the United States
they range as far north as Oregon, but are most common south of
Point Conception, California. They usually appear off California in
July and remain until late October. They appear to be predominant
species of Kenya, Mozambique, Mexico, Ecuador and New Zealand.
Commercial fisheries catch them all the way across the Pacific.
Striped marlin have traveled up to 31 miles per day. The longest
southern migration was 1,153 miles from the tip of Baja near
Clipperton Islands in seventy-one days. The longest migration of any
billfish was by a striped marlin, tagged and released near the tip
of Baja, and then recovered 200 miles southwest of the Hawaiian
Islands three months later, a distance of about 3,120 miles. Most of
the striped marlin wander in the ocean alone, but, as with all
marlin when breeding, they may be in pairs or schools.
food of striped marlin is predominately fishes, squid, crabs and
shrimp. The latter three make up lesser portions of the diet than do
Temperature Range :
70 - 86 degrees F.
Names : striper, marlin, nairagi, Pacific marlin, spikefish,