ocean bonito, Arctic bonito,
striped tuna, watermelon tuna
It is common throughout the tropical Atlantic, south Argentina
and may range as far north as Cape Cod, Massachusetts in the summer months.
A pelagic, migratory, deep water spieces, it may form schools composed
of 50,000 or more individuals.
In the western Atlantic, skipjack
tuna frequently school with blackfin tuna (Thunnus atlanticus) and in
the Pacific and Indian Oceans they often school with yellowfin tuna (Thunnus
albacares). The presence of stripes on the belly and the absence of markings
on the back are sufficient to distinguish the skipjack tuna from all similar
The teeth are smaller and more numerous than those of the bonitos and
are unlike the triangular, compressed teeth of the mackerels. There are
53-63 gill rakers on the first arch, which is more than in any other species
of tuna except the slender tuna (Allothunnus).
This is a gregarious fish and a fast swimmer. It feeds near the surface
and its diet consists of clupeoids (herring-like fish), squids, small
scombroids, lanternfish, euphausiid shrimps and crustaceans. It will strike
trolled strip baits, feathers, spoons, plugs, or small whole baits.