WHITE MARLIN : Tetrapturus albidus
The White marlin, often called the Atlantic white marlin is found only in the Atlantic and the Caribbean and is much smaller than the other Marlin species. There was thought be a sub-species of the White marlin, the ‘Hatchet marlin‘ but this has recently been confirmed as a separate species in the Tetrapturus genus and named the Roundscale spearfish.
The tips of the dorsal and anal fins of the White marlin are rounded, rather than pointed. Its body is slender and its sides rather flat. The lateral line is single and rather prominent and the upper jaw is about twice as long as the upper jaw and its spear is moderately long.
The average weight of the White marlin is 60 lbs. The rod and reel record stands at 161 lbs but it can grow up to 180 lbs (82 kg). It normally grows up to 50 ins in length but some of them grow up to 9 ft. Its average lifespan in the wild is 18 years.
The White marlin has more green coloring than the other Marlin species. The upper part of the body is brilliant greenish-blue, which changes abruptly to silvery-white about the lateral line and the belly is white. Along the sides are varying numbers of light blue or lavender vertical bars which fade quickly after death. The dorsal fin and sometimes the anal fin also, is bright blue and usually spotted or blotched with black or purple and with white marks at the base of the fin.
The White marlin is a migratory creature and, like the other Marlins, they travel alone or sometimes in small groups and have been witnessed working together to round up baitfish into a ball for easy feeding. They are found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea from approximately 45° north to 45° south in the Western Atlantic and as far as 35° south in the Eastern Atlantic. They migrate seasonally between these latitudes avoiding the winters of both the north and south of this area.
They normally cruise in deep water but will also enter areas too shallow for the other Marlin species and are often seen in water less than 8 fathoms in depth. They are often found at upwellings, weed lines and hang out in areas where the topology has drop-offs and canyons.
The diet of the White marlin is predominantly fish and squid. They are the most cautious feeder of all the Marlin species and is quite difficult to lure onto baits. Although it is the smallest than the others in the family, the White marlin is a strong fighter and a revered trophy because of its vibrant colors. Sport fishing in Panama is on a strictly catch and release basis. We sometimes encounter them when fishing at Bocas del Toro or way offshore when staying at San Blas (Guna Yala).
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