Black marlin

For the ship MV Black Marlin, see MV Blue Marlin.
Black marlin
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Istiophoridae
Genus: Istiompax
Whitley, 1931
Species: I. indica
Binomial name
Istiompax indica
(G. Cuvier, 1832)
  • Tetrapturus indicus G. Cuvier, 1832
  • Istiomax indicus (G. Cuvier, 1832)
  • Istiompax indicus (G. Cuvier, 1832)
  • Makaira indica (G. Cuvier, 1832)
  • Tetrapterus australis (sic) Macleay, 1854
  • Makaira australis (Macleay, 1854)
  • Tetrapturus australis Macleay, 1854
  • Histiophorus brevirostris (sic) Playfair, 1867
  • Istiompax brevirostris (Playfair, 1867)
  • Makaira brevirostris (Playfair, 1867)
  • Tetrapturus brevirostris (Playfair, 1867)
  • Makaira marlina D. S. Jordan & Hill, 1926
  • Istiompax marlina (D. S. Jordan & Hill, 1926)
  • Makaira ampla marlina D. S. Jordan & Hill, 1926
  • Makaira marlina marlina D. S. Jordan & Hill, 1926
  • Makaira nigricans marlina D. S. Jordan & Hill, 1926
  • Marlina marlina (D. S. Jordan & Hill, 1926)
  • Istiompax australis Whitley, 1931
  • Makaira nigricans tahitiensis Nichols & La Monte, 1935
  • Makaira ampla tahitiensis Nichols & La Monte, 1935
  • Makaira marlina tahitiensis Nichols & La Monte, 1935
  • Makaira mazara tahitiensis Nichols & La Monte, 1935
  • Istiompax dombraini Whitley, 1954
  • Makaira xantholineata Deraniyagala, 1956

The black marlin (Istiompax indica) is a species of marlin found in tropical and subtropical areas of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.[2] With a maximum published length of 4.65 m (15.3 ft) and weight of 750 kg (1,650 lb),[2] it is one of the largest marlins and also one of the largest bony fish. This marlin is one of the fastest fish, with speeds of up to 129 km/h (80 mph) as estimated from the speed that hooked marlins are able to unwind fishing line.[3] Black marlin are fished commercially and are also a highly prized game fish.


Compared to striped or white marlins and sailfish, black marlins are more solid than their blue counterparts. They have a shorter bill and a rounder and lower dorsal fin. Black marlin may be distinguished from all other marlin species by their rigid pectoral fins, which, especially from a weight of around 150 lb (75 kg) or so, are unable to be pressed flat against their sides.


Diet mostly consists of various fishes and cephalopods.

Recreational fishing

Many people see the black marlin as the premier game fish for sport fisherman. Because of their size and physique, these marlins are popularly fished. Research off the coast of Australia suggests the large creature is much easier to catch around the full moon and the week afterwards due to its prey moving to the surface layers, which in turn forces the marlin to hunt in a wider area.


In addition to the Australian coast, black marlin can also be found throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific waters. They can also be found from Southern California to the Gulf of California to Chile, including the coast of all oceanic islands in between. They tend to stay in warmer waters and hunt the surface. In addition to warmer waters, they also are found close to land masses as opposed to wide-open water.


  1. Collette, B.; Acero, A.; Canales Ramirez, C.; Carpenter, K.E.; Di Natale, A.; Fox, W.; Miyabe, N.; Montano Cruz, R.; Nelson, R.; Schaefer, K.; et al. (2011). "Istiompax indica". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
  2. 1 2 Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2013). "Istiompax indica" in FishBase. April 2013 version.
  3. BBC Worldwide (27-05-2008). Black marlin - the fastest fish on the planet. Ultimate Killers - BBC wildlife.
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