Latin name

Euthynnus alletteratus

Other names

Little tuna, Atlantic little tunny, false albacore, bonito; French: thonine de l’Atlantique; Italian: tonnetto dell’ Atlantico, tonnella sanguinaccio, alletterato; Japanese: yaito, suma-rui; Portuguese: merma; Spanish: bacoreta del Atlántico, merma, barrilete, carachana pintada.


The body is spindle-shaped. Little tunny has a scattering of dark fingerprint-like spots between the pectoral and pelvic fins, as well as wavy, "worm-like" markings on the back. These marks are above the lateral line within a well-defined boundary and never extend further forward than about the middle of the first dorsal fin. The spots and marks are not like the spots and marks of any other Atlantic species. The pectoral and pelvic fins are short and broad, and the two dorsal fins are separated at the base by a large gap. The body has no scales except for a narrow strip along the lateral line. There is no air bladder. It has no teeth on the womb.


Widely distributed in subtropical, tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic Ocean. In the Western Atlantic this species is distributed from Cape Cod to Brazil, in the Eastern Atlantic - from the Skagerrak Strait to South Africa. Numerous in the Caribbean, occurs in the Mediterranean Sea. Mass aggregations of spotted tuna form at the surface water temperature above 18°С.


Non-riot Oceanic species. Common in the shelf areas. Rare in open ocean areas. It is not as migratory as other tuna species and regularly occurs both in coastal waters and on the shelf, usually in large flocks.


Little tunny can reach a length of 40 inches, but are most commonly found up to 25 inches. The world record for all tackle is considered to be an Algerian fish weighing 35 pounds 2 ounces. During the first year of life tuna are up to 30 cm in length, during the second year - up to 45 cm, in subsequent years growth slows down slightly. Tuna become sexually mature at 40 cm in the late second or early third year of life.

Life history and Behavior

The little tunny reach sexual maturity at about 15 inches in length. Spawning takes place from about April to November.

Food and feeding habits

Little tunny are common in coastal waters near the surface where they feed on squid, crustaceans, fish larvae and large numbers of small pelagic fish, especially herring.


In the tropical East Atlantic, spawning occurs from October to May, in the Senegal region from April to September. In the Mediterranean Sea in June-August, and in the Congo region in November-January. Spawning portions with small intervals between the withdrawal of individual portions. Absolute individual fecundity ranges from 0.27 to 3.54 million eggs. The diameter of the eggs is 0.6-0.7 mm. Development of eggs occurs in the surface layer of the ocean. The larvae hatch in 20-24 h with a length not exceeding 1.5 mm.


Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Scombriformes
Family Scombridae
Genus Euthynnus
Species E. alletteratus
Conservation status Least Concern
Habitat Pelagic
Life span, years No information
Maximum body weight, kg 17
Maximum length, cm 120
Sailing speed, m/s 17.78
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Predator

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Tunny, Little

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