Genus Makaira Lacèpéde.
|Stripes on body broad, indistinct.|
|Dorsal lobe low, little falcate, Median spines moderate, from bottom of groove 5 ¼ in highest.|
|Pectoral markedly falcate.|
|Bony spinules in skin large, pronounced||mazara.|
|Stripes on body narrower, very distinct, almost reaching ventral surface.|
|Dorsal lobe high, markedly falcate.|
|Median dorsal spines 4 in the highest.|
|Bony spinules in skin smaller, not so pronounced||mitsukurii.|
Makaira mazara (Jordan and Snyder). Black marlin, ♀. (Fig. 5.).
Histiophorus gladius Ramsay (nec Broussonet). P.L.S. N.S. Wales, 5, 1881, p. 295, pl. 8.
Tetrapturus mazara Jordan and Snyder, Journ. Coll. Sci. Imp. Univ. Tokyo, 15, 4, 305, May, 1901, Misaki, Japan.
Tetrapturus indicus Stead. Edible. Fish. N.S. Wales, p. 100, pl. 67.
Tetrapturus indicus McCulloch. Check List. Fish. N.S. Wales, pt 3, p. 106, pl. 34.
Makaira mazara (Jordan and Snyder) Jordan and Evermann, Occasional Papers, Cal. Acad. Sci. 12, 1926, p. 53, pl. 2, fig. 1.
D.ii/XXX—7; A.i/VIII—7; P. 20; V.I; Br. 7; Gills, 4.
Depth behind pectoral rather more than 5 in total from tip of spear to end of middle caudal membrane, or nearly 3 ½ in body exclusive of head. Head (tip of spear to posterior margin of operculum) nearly 2 in body. Spear to anterior margin of nostril 1 ¼ in rest of head and equal to greatest height of body, subequal with pectoral, and about twice the length of dorsal lobe.
Eye including orbital width 6 in head. Maxillary ½ width of eye. Dorsal lobe 2 in body. Median dorsal spines 5 ¼ in longest. Upper caudal lobe ¼ longer than lower, or equal to pectoral. Ventral ½ length of pectoral. Depth of caudal peduncle 2 in dorsal lobe.
Body robust, the profile rising rapidly directly above the eye to dorsal, thence sloping gradually to second dorsal. Ventral surface subequal to the dorsal. Skin inclosing numerous lanceolate bony spinules averaging about 16 mm. long. Bucklers on caudal large, flexible. Head: Lower profile and spear somewhat oblique. Tip of lower jaw with a downward curve. Maxillary extends an orbital width behind the eye. Angle of lower jaw almost reaches posterior margin of preoperculum. Cheeks with bony spinules similar to body, but somewhat smaller. Posterior quarter of preoperculum smooth, but, showing broad striae. Operculum smooth. First dorsal with its origin above middle of operculum. The fin lies in a groove which is deep anteriorly, very shallow towards end of fin. Dorsal lobe subfalcate, spines following getting progressively shorter. The first spine is short, bound to the second by thick leathery membrane, while the last is very small, hidden by the groove which terminates at this point. Whole of membrane covered with spots ranging from half an inch to three-quarters in diameter, few of which partly cover the spines. The spots are uniformly round, their margins but little difuse.
Second dorsal separated from first by a space equal to two of the eye. The fin is thickened by tough flexible skin, the last spine produced. First anal in a deep groove similar to dorsal which almost hides the fin when folded backward. Second anal slightly smaller than second dorsal, but, similar to it in every other respect. Its origin is a little behind that of the second dorsal. Pectoral markedly falcate, its outer spine longest and sharp on margin. Its origin is the vertical from the fifth dorsal spine, extending backward to the vertical from the nineteenth and twentieth. Ventrals reduced to a single flattened spine, broad at base, tapering to an extremely fine point. They are covered with small flattened papillae on both surfaces. Their origin is below the middle of pectoral base, reaching backward to the vertical from the fifteenth dorsal spine, fitting very perfectly into a narrow groove on the abdomen. They are seldom
equal in length, one usually being half an inch to an inch longer than the other. Caudal similar in character to pectoral, the upper lobe longest; there is a deep notch at the base.
Colour: Dorsal blackish blue, getting thinner towards the middle of the height, where it has a light brassy hue over dull silver. Below this, it is dull bluish silver, ending in a narrow white band along the middle of the ventral surface. About fourteen broad indistinct stripes on body, reaching down to middle of operculum anteriorly, getting gradually shorter as they approach the caudal. A few more short and more indistinct stripes are disposed among the others, irregular in shape, and often difficult to define. Cheeks and operculum bluish-silver maxillary the same. Eye brilliant bluish-silver. Lower jaw dirty silver white. Spear blackish-blue above, ochreous on the under surface. Dorsal fin deep violet at base, the membrane brownish in patches with thin streaks of dull blue towards tips of spines. Dorsal spots very dark purple brown. Thickened membrane of anterior part of dorsal blackish-blue. Second dorsal blackish-blue. Anal similar to low dorsal, but without spots. Second anal light greyish-blue. Pectoral dark blue on outer surface, dull greenish silver on the inside. Ventrals black, the papillae covering them. greyish-brown. Caudal similar to outer surface of pectoral.
Described and figured from a female specimen weighing 472 lbs. Total length from tip of spear to end of caudal membrane, 9 feet 6 inches. Spear from anterior margin of nostril, 23 ⅝ inches. Greatest height of body 23 ½ inches. Greatest thickness 11 ½ inches. Width of caudal lobes, 37 ½ inches.
Identity and variation: This fish agrees so well with descriptions given by Jordan and Evermann, that I have no doubt about it being the same species. It is subject to some variation similar to other members of the family. It approaches very closely to M. marlina, but the very fact that the last named is said to have no stripes on body, or spots on its dorsal fin, excludes it from being this species. According to the descriptions, the variation of the dorsal fin is great, viz: from 40—52. Those I have examined average 32 only.
Locality and distribution: From the North Cape to the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, from January to April. The specimen described here was taken off Cape Brett, Bay of Islands, in February, 1927, a locality where many have been taken by anglers during the last few years. It is also said to be abundant in the open waters about Hawaii, from whence it probably migrates to New Zealand and Australian seas. It has only once been recorded from Japan, the original type, from Misaki.
Sexual conditions: The reduced state of the ovaries in the specimen described indicate that it was far removed from the breeding condition.
Makaira mitsukurii (Jordan and Snyder), Spear-fish. ♂. (Fig. 6.).
Tetrapturus mitsukurii Jordan and Snyder, Journ. 4., Coll. Sci. Imp. Univ. Tokyo. 15, pt. 2, 303, pl. 16, fig. 5, 1901, Misaki Sagimi, Japan.
Makaira mitsukurii (Jordan and Snyder). Jordan and Evermann, Occasional Papers, Cal. Acad. Sci. 12, 1926, p. 61, pl. 18.
Makaira zelandica, Jordan and Evermann, Occasional Papers, Cal. Acad. Sci. 12, 1926, p. 65, pl. 19, fig. 2.
Istiophorus gladius, Phillipps (nec Broussonet). Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. 65, 1926, p. 536, pl. 92.
D.iii/XXXVIII—6; A.i/XII—5; P.XX; Br. 7; Gills. 4.
Depth behind pectoral equal to the dorsal lobe, ¾ length of spear, and about 5 ¼ in total from tip of spear to end of caudal membrane, or rather less than 3 ¼ in body exclusive of the head. Head, including spear, rather more than 1 ½ in body, and little less than 2 in height. Lower jaw ¾ the height of body. Spear from tip to anterior margin of nostril equal to the pectoral, subequal with the upper caudal lobe, or 2 ½ in body from posterior margin of operculum to end of caudal membrane. Pectoral a little shorter than distance from tip of lower jaw to end of operculum. Ventrals ¾ the length of lower caudal lobe, and neary as long as anterior dorsal. Caudal lobes wide, 2 ¾ in the total length. Median dorsal spines 4 ¼ in the longest. Eye, including the orbital width 5 ¼ in rest of head. Maxillary about ⅓ of the eye.
Body robust, highest anteriorly beneath the dorsal lobe, thence sloping gradually to the 30th spine. It then rises somewhat, having the appearance of a small hump upon which is placed the second dorsal fin. Greater part of the ventral surface evenly convex except in the position of the two anal fins where it is oblique. About seventeen very distinct stripes about 1 ½ inches wide cover the dorsal surface and sides, most of which almost reach the ventral surface. There are also a few shorter shadow stripes on the dorsal surface only, disposed irregularly between the longer ones. The skin of body is full of small lanceolate overlapping spinules. From the dorsal fin to the spear, the top of the head slopes with a gentle curve. The spear is almost straight, the extreme tip only being slightly upturned. Base of spear before the eye broad, rounded on top, and somewhat flattened below. Tip of lower jaw fits close to the upper when the mouth is closed. Maxillary extends half the width of the orbit behind the eye. Cheeks with small spinules similar to those found on body, but, the broad posterior margin of the preoperculum is mostly smooth, showing marginal striae only. Operculum smooth. First dorsal origin above upper angle of operculum, the anterior portion high, falcate, the three anterior spines bound together by thick membrane. The whole fin is contained in a groove which is of moderate depth anteriorly, about one-eleventh in the height of the body. It gradually decreases in depth towards the posterior portion of the fin. Second dorsal placed on a low hump, behind which, at base of caudal, there is a shallow pit. The first anal is also contained in a groove which hides all but the margin of the first spine when the fin is laid back. Origin of second anal a little behind the origin of second dorsal; it is similar to the latter in every other respect. Pectoral long, moderately straight on its inner margin. Its origin is below the sixth dorsal spine, and it extends backward to the vertical from the twenty-second. The origin of the ventral is below
the middle of base of pectoral, it extends backward to the vertical from the fifteenth dorsal spine. Caudal with the upper lobe longest. Both lobes are similar in form and structure to the pectorals.
Colour: The colour taken from the fish when alive is as follows:—Body above middle of the height to base of dorsal fin, blackish-blue, with a slight bronze outer shade. Near the base of the dorsal fin it is deepest in colour, getting gradually lighter towards the middle of the fish. It then blends into a beautiful pale greenish ceruleansilver which extends as far as base of pectoral, then follows a strip of dull pale bluish-silver as far as the middle line of the abdomen, the latter being pure white. Stripes on sides, pale cerulean-blue of a uniform tint, showing brightly on dark dorsal, but somewhat weaker in tone as they extend towards the ventral surface. The shadow stripes between are of a much lower tone.
Dorsal fin with a broad band of bright violet silver extending the whole length of the base, the membrane and spines above are dark purple blue, streaked in many places with ultramarine. Spots on membrane very dark brown, almost black, they are no larger than a pea, some smaller. The anterior spines of the dorsal are mostly blackish-blue, the membrane between streaked with ultramarine. Second dorsal, uniform dark purple-blue, the produced spine blackish towards the tip. First anal with the largest spine light purple-brown, the spines and membrane behind dark brown with ultramarine blue at the base. Second anal similar to second dorsal, but somewhat lighter in colour. Outer surface of pectoral same as back of fish, the under surface being bright silver blue.
Ventrals blackish-blue. Caudal dark purple-brown with blue streaks between the rays.
Upper surface of spear blackish-blue, the tip light brown. Under parts, and inside mouth, yellowish-pink, almost ochreous. A triangular patch on base of spear before the eye, brilliant silver shot with pale green and cerulean blue. Cheeks and opercles the same colour. Maxillary somewhat deeper. Eye burnished silver streaked with cobalt. Lower jaw dull silver-white, branchiostegal membrane the same, but the rays are frosted with dull silver.
Described and figured from a fine male specimen weighing 381 pounds. Total length from tip to spear to end of caudal membrane is 9 feet 6 inches. Tip of spear to anterior margin of nostril 25 ⅝. Greatest depth 18 ½.
Stomach contents. When examined, these fish were found to have been feeding on Caranx georgianus, and Mustelus antarcticus.
Identity and variation: Having recently examined several of these fine fish, and after making full allowance for variation which I found considerable in the various descriptions as well as in the specimens themselves, I have come to the conclusion that this fish compares more exactly with the descriptions of M. mitsukurii than any other members of the family. The variation between the male and female in size and form is not great, the females being not quite so deep in the body or as thick through as the males. Females of from eight to nine feet in length averaged about 8 ½ inches in thickness, while males of the same length went from 9 to 10 ¾ inches. Males are also deeper
in the body below the dorsal lobe. The spear shows a considerable variation. In seven specimens, six of which were females, I found the following differences in the length of the spear. Measurements taken from tip of spear to anterior margin of nostril:—
|No. 1||Weight 325 lbs.||Spear 25 Inches.|
|No. 2||Weight 318 lbs.||Spear 22 Inches.|
|No. 3||Weight 328 lbs.||Spear 23 ⅞ Inches.|
|No. 4||Weight 348 lbs.||Spear 25 ¾ Inches.|
|No. 5||Weight 316 lbs.||Spear 25 Inches.|
|No. 6||Weight 345 lbs.||Spear 22 ¾ Inches.|
|Male. No. 7||Weight 381 lbs.||Spear 25 ⅝ Inches.|
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The eye also varied in relation to the number of times it would measure in the head. Including the orbital width, it varied from 4 ¾ to 5 ¼ times to posterior margin of the operculum. The dorsal fin counts in all the above mentioned fish varied from 3/37 to 3/39. In one of these specimens the pectoral of one side was three inches shorter than its fellow on the other side. The fin was perfectly formed and undamaged. In the Auckland Museum there is a mounted specimen described by Dr. Starr Jordan from a photograph as M. zelandica n. sp. I have made a careful examination of this fish, and find it agrees in all essential details with M. mitsukurii. The photograph was misleading, as the fins are shrunken and out of position, while the colour is entirely wrong.
Sexual condition: The ovaries of females of this species were all found to be in exactly the same undeveloped state as in the previous species described, showing that these fish were far removed from the breeding condition.
Locality and distribution: This species is considered the most common and widely distributed of the group. It is common in Japanese waters, Hawaii, and the Santa Barbara Islands. It is said to be found in New Zealand waters during the winter months, but this statement requires verifying. As the records show, it is here from December to April, the greater number being captured during the month of February. It may be taken from the North Cape to the Bay of Plenty on the East Coast of the North Island.
The specimen described and figured was caught in February, 1927, off Cape Brett, Bay of Islands, where a large number were captured during the same month in 1926.