• Japanese Spanish mackerel

Latin name

Scomberomorus niphonius

Other names

Japanese seer fish


Japanese Spanish mackerel have a spindle-shaped body, compressed at the sides. The swim bladder is absent. The length of the snout is shorter than the rest of the head. Canines and palatines are present. The maxilla is not hidden under the premaxilla. The 2 dorsal fins are separated by a small gap. The lateral line is not wavy, but curves sharply under the second dorsal fin. Teeth on the tongue are absent. Number of gill rays on first gill arch 11-15. Vertebrae 48-50. The only species in the genus with a direct intestine. 

Features of fish fins

The pelvic fins are small. The ventral process between them is small and forked. The first dorsal fin has 19-21 barbed rays, the second dorsal fin 15-19 and the anal fin 16-20 soft rays. Behind the second dorsal and anal fins are a number of smaller fins (6-9 and 7-9 respectively) which help to avoid vortex formation during rapid movement. The pectoral fins are made up of 21-23 rays. 

Fish colouring

Back greyish blue. Sides and abdomen greyish steel, with 7 or more longitudinal rows of small spots along the sides.


Occurs in subtropical and temperate waters of the Pacific Ocean south of Hokkaido Island (off China, Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan). In Russian waters it is found in Peter the Great Bay. 


Pelagic, neritic, oceanodromous, gregarious fish. Mainly found in coastal waters at depths of up to 200m. 


The maximum recorded length is 1 m and the mass is 7.1 kg.


Spawn in March-June and arrive at their feeding grounds in September-November.

Food and feeding habits

The diet of this predator is based on small pelagic fish (anchovy, mackerel, saira), squid and cuttlefish.


Spawn in coastal areas in April-May. The eggs are pelagic. Fecundity reaches 550-570 thousand eggs. Males and females reach sexual maturity at a body length to tail fork of 40 cm and 60 cm respectively. Life expectancy is estimated to be 6 years. Generation length is approximately 2-3 years.


A valuable commercial fish, especially in Japan. Nets are the main fishing gear used. 

Relationship with a person

Has high quality white meat. 

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Scombriformes
Family Scombridae
Genus Scomberomorus
Species S. niphonius
Conservation status Data Deficient
Habitat Pelagic
Life span, years 6
Maximum body weight, kg 7,1
Maximum length, cm 100
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Predator

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Japanese Spanish mackerel

Tags: japanese spanish mackerel