Atlantic/ European Horse Mackerel Facts: Profile, Traits, Catch - SeaFish (2024)

The Atlantic Horse Mackerel, scientifically identified as Trachurus trachurus, dons multiple epithets, among which “European Horse Mackerel” is prominently acknowledged. Alternatively referred to as the Common Scad, this marine creature belongs to the Jack mackerel family Carangidae. Its habitat spans the expanses of Europe and Africa, primarily dwelling in the East Atlantic Ocean and the Southeast Indian Ocean. This piscine denizen assumes a pivotal role in the realm of commercial fisheries, its significance underscored by its inclusion in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The Atlantic horse mackerel boasts a distinctive physique characterized by an exceptionally slender and tightly packed body. Notably, its upper jaw extends forward to the front of the eye, while the lower jaws gracefully protrude outward, forming a harmonious alignment with the upper jaw.

The taxonomic precision of the Atlantic Horse Mackerel extends beyond its colloquial monikers. At the heart of its biological classification lies the genus Trachurus, with the species name trachurus encapsulating its specific identity. This meticulous categorization facilitates a more nuanced understanding of its evolutionary lineage and ecological niche within the intricate tapestry of marine life.

In its aquatic odyssey, the Atlantic Horse Mackerel gracefully navigates the waters of the East Atlantic Ocean and the Southeast Indian Ocean. These expansive regions of Europe and Africa serve as its chosen domains, providing a habitat where the intricate dance of survival unfolds against the backdrop of diverse ecosystems. The species’ ability to thrive in such geographically distinct waters underscores its adaptability and resilience in the face of varying environmental conditions.

Within the expansive seas it inhabits, the Atlantic Horse Mackerel emerges as more than just a marine denizen. It assumes a pivotal role in commercial fisheries, where its capture and utilization contribute significantly to the economic fabric of communities reliant on the bounty of the ocean. The species’ inclusion in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species raises concerns about the sustainability of its exploitation, prompting a nuanced dialogue about the delicate balance between economic interests and ecological preservation.

The regal presence of the Atlantic Horse Mackerel in marine ecosystems belies a disconcerting reality—it finds itself listed as a threatened species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. This classification serves as a poignant reminder of the delicate equilibrium that governs the natural world. The implications of its precarious status extend beyond the realm of marine biology, sparking conversations about conservation measures, sustainable fishing practices, and the broader ecological implications of species endangerment.

Intricate Details of the Adipose Eyeball

The eye of this marine species is not merely an organ for sight; it is a marvel of evolutionary sophistication. Within the ocular realm, advanced adipose leads play a pivotal role, contributing to the fish’s adaptive prowess. These specialized features elevate the mackerel’s ocular functions beyond the ordinary, hinting at a complex interplay of biological intricacies.

Dorsal Fins: A Symphony of Form and Function

The Atlantic horse mackerel proudly displays two dorsal fins, each with its unique characteristics. The initial dorsal fin, characterized by its elongated structure, showcases seven slender spines. However, the final spine stands in stark contrast, noticeably shorter than its companions, adding a nuanced touch to the mackerel’s dorsal fin symphony.

Fin Dynamics: A Tale of Length and Separation

The narrative of the mackerel’s fins unfolds with poetic precision. The second dorsal fin, positioned at a distinct distance from its predecessor, stands apart, creating a narrow interval that adds to the overall aesthetic appeal. Boasting an impressive range of 29 to 33 soft rays, these rays eclipse the first dorsal fin in length, creating a mesmerizing visual spectacle beneath the Atlantic waves.

Anal Fin Elegance: Symmetry in Length and Dual Spines

The anal fin of the Atlantic horse mackerel is a study of symmetry and grace. Almost mirroring the length of its counterpart—the second dorsal fin—this fin emerges as a testament to the fish’s balanced design. Adding a touch of complexity, two separate spines adorn the anterior end of the anal fin, contributing to the overall elegance of this marine marvel.

Pelvic Fin: A Delicate Balance of Spine and Rays

Nestled below the end of the pectoral fin base, the mid-sized pelvic fin of the Atlantic horse mackerel is a masterpiece of equilibrium. Housing a solitary spine and accompanied by five soft rays, this fin strikes a delicate balance in the fish’s anatomy. The interplay of these fin elements adds a subtle yet essential dimension to the mackerel’s aquatic locomotion and maneuverability.

The Distinctive Silhouette of the Atlantic Horse Mackerel

A captivating spectacle unfolds beneath the surface of the ocean as a sinuous array of 3 to 5-knitted scooters forms an elegant curve, spanning from the majestic head to the delicate tail. This mesmerizing arrangement is characterized by a fascinating interplay of sizes, with each spine gracefully diminishing in scale as it progresses toward the tail. The enigmatic beauty of this underwater ballet is heightened by the subtle gradation in size, creating a harmonious visual symphony in the aquatic realm.

The Intricacies of the Lateral Line and Dazzling Color Palette

Embarking on an exploration of the Atlantic Horse Mackerel’s anatomy, one cannot overlook the intricacies of its lateral line, a defining feature that embellishes its sleek form. This lateral line boasts an impressive count of 66 to 67 scales, among which 31 to 36 take the form of scutes. The canvas upon which this marine masterpiece is painted is equally noteworthy—a dark blue backdrop adorned with silver flanks, while a pristine white abdomen adds a touch of elegance. A singular dark spot on the operculum completes the artistic rendering of this aquatic marvel, further enhancing its allure.

From Length to Weight

The Atlantic Horse Mackerel, a creature of noteworthy proportions, attains its full glory in dimensions that captivate the imagination. At its pinnacle, this species stretches to a maximum length of 60 cm, an impressive 24 inches. Yet, it often graces the ocean waters at a more modest length of 25 cm, or 9.8 inches. The weight it bears is a testament to its robust presence, with a typical measurement of 1.5 kg, equivalent to 3.3 pounds. These dimensions contribute to the majesty of the Atlantic Horse Mackerel, making it a formidable resident of the oceanic expanse.

The Atlantic Horse Mackerel’s Far-reaching Habitat

The Atlantic Horse Mackerel, a nomad of the seas, gracefully traverses expansive territories, contributing to the vibrancy of multiple marine ecosystems. Its presence is felt in the North and East Atlantic Ocean, as well as in the enchanting waters of the Mediterranean. Further afield, it graces the Sea of Marmara and the mysterious depths of the Black Sea. This expansive range creates a rich tapestry of habitats, showcasing the adaptability and resilience of the Atlantic Horse Mackerel in the face of diverse environmental conditions.

From Norway to South Africa and Beyond

The Atlantic Horse Mackerel’s journey unfolds across the vast expanse of the globe, creating a narrative that spans continents and crosses oceans. Its presence is felt from the chilly waters of Norway to the warm embrace of South Africa. A truly remarkable testament to its endurance is the ability to circumnavigate the formidable Cape of Good Hope. The Atlantic Horse Mackerel’s territorial footprint extends even further, tracing a coastal path from Maputo to the shores of Mozambique, and along the Indian Ocean coast of India. This global odyssey paints a picture of the Atlantic Horse Mackerel as a traveler of epic proportions, leaving an indelible mark on the diverse landscapes it encounters.

Trechurus Capensis and its Cryptic Presence

Yet, within the tapestry of the Atlantic Horse Mackerel’s distribution, a mystery lingers. The enigmatic Trechurus capensis, if considered a valid species, carves out a distinct niche in the North-East Atlantic. Recorded in Cape Verde, its existence appears shrouded in ambiguity, emerging only as a wispy apparition in the wetlands. The exploration of this cryptic presence adds a layer of intrigue to the narrative of the Atlantic Horse Mackerel, leaving us with questions that echo in the vastness of the ocean.

Atlantic Nesting Mackerel: A Habitat Exploration

The Atlantic nesting mackerel, a captivating benchoplasmic species, gracefully navigates the sandy layers of ocean depths, typically residing at a depth range of 100-200 meters (330-660 feet). Astonishingly, this marine marvel has been documented at a staggering depth of 1,050 meters (3,440 feet), occasionally appearing near the water’s surface, creating a mystique around its aquatic habitat.

The Mysterious Migrations

This enigmatic species is not merely stationary; it is a migratory marvel. As the summer months usher in, it embarks on a northward journey, seeking cooler waters. When the sea temperatures take a dip, it gracefully retraces its path southward. This cyclical migration is a testament to the intricate dance of nature, a rhythmic movement that mirrors the ebb and flow of the ocean.

Regional Recognition: East and West Stocks

The northeast Atlantic embraces two distinct stocks of this mackerel, adding an intriguing regional dimension to its existence. The west stock unfurls its presence from Ireland to the Bay of Biscay, initiating its expansion in early spring. As summer arrives, it elegantly maneuvers northward, gracing the southern coast of Norway and extending its reach to the North Sea.

Summertime Symphony in the North Sea

A symphony of movement characterizes the summer months as the mackerel reservoirs gracefully spill into the southern expanse of the North Sea. The mesmerizing ballet continues its crescendo, moving northward into the South-North Sea, Skagerak, and Kattegat. The seasonal migration paints a vibrant picture of life beneath the waves, where patterns and rhythms dictate the species’ movements.

Spawning Saga: From November to January

The reproductive tale of this species unfolds during its original spawning season, a spectacle occurring from November to January. In the absence of Mauritania, this period sees the peak of reproductive activity. A parallel narrative unfolds with the mackerel of the related quinine horses, extending their spawning season from June to August, adding another layer to the intricate tapestry of marine life.

Irish Summer Bloom: July’s Peak

The summer months, particularly in the emerald landscapes of Ireland, witness the zenith of mackerel activity. July becomes a focal point, marked by irregular but captivating gatherings in Irish batches. An astonishing display ensues, with every 140,000 eggs released, giving life to hatching larvae measuring a mere 5 millimeters (0.20 inches) in length.

Unveiling the Egg Enigma

Delving into the intricacies of reproduction, the quantity of eggs a female mackerel can produce hinges on factors subject to variation in each breeding season. Pelagic eggs and larvae become the embodiment of life’s fragility and resilience, encapsulating the precarious yet fascinating beginnings of this species.

Juvenile Jamboree: A Multispecies Affair

Adolescents of the Atlantic nesting mackerel find companionship in the vibrant underwater world, often mingling with juveniles of diverse fish species. Notably, the Atlantic herring and horse mackerel, including the Mediterranean horse mackerel and blue jack mackerel, create a harmonious spectacle, showcasing the interconnectedness of marine life beneath the ocean’s surface.

Marriage Age: Two to Four Years?

The concept of age takes a peculiar turn when discussing marital unions. Wives, it seems, are considered to be in the tender age bracket of two to four years. This peculiar metric sparks curiosity, prompting contemplation on cultural nuances and the malleability of societal norms surrounding relationships.

Atlantic Horse Mackerel: Depths and Maturity

Venturing far from the shores of Mauritania, the Atlantic horse mackerel’s life unfolds in the enigmatic depths of 200–300 meters, capturing juveniles. As maturity sets in, these fish transition to shallower waters, preferring depths less than 100 meters. The dichotomy of their habitat showcases the intricate dance of life beneath the ocean’s surface.

Age and Growth: Varied Narratives

The saga of the Atlantic horse mackerel’s age and growth unveils diverse narratives across geographical expanses. Influenced by the wide-ranging shockwaves absorbed in different regions, the species paints a mosaic of life, each piece a reflection of the dynamic environments they inhabit.

Culinary Preferences: A Gourmet Oceanic Palette

The Atlantic horse mackerel’s gastronomic choices extend beyond the mundane, embracing a varied diet. Copepods, shrimp, small fish, and squid dance on their palate, creating a gastronomic symphony both in adolescence and adulthood. The meticulous examination of stomach contents in the Aegean Sea unveils a culinary panorama featuring five major systemic groups—Polychites, Crustaceans, Mollusks, arrowheads, and bonefish.

Seasonal Feasts: The Ephemeral Dance of Prey

The Atlantic horse mackerel’s diet experiences a choreography of seasons, with copepods, euphrasids, and mycids taking center stage during the year. Kelpids and mycids dominate the culinary scene, showcasing minimal seasonal variation, except for a subtle shift in the spring. Larger fish, showcasing a hierarchy in the oceanic food chain, revel in feasts elevated 16.9 centimeters above bonefish larvae.

Bountiful Biodiversity: Copious Copepod Census

In a survey of staggering biodiversity, no less than 45 species of copepods make their presence known. Among them, Acartia clauses and Owens media emerge as numerous and significant residents throughout the year. The crustaceans, perennially crucial in the Atlantic horse mackerel’s diet, stand resilient across seasons, underscoring the species’ adaptability to the ever-shifting underwater landscape.

Atlantic/ European Horse Mackerel Facts: Profile, Traits, Catch - SeaFish (1)

Crustacean Chronicles: Bonefish Banquets

Throughout all seasons, crustaceans take center stage in the Atlantic horse mackerel’s culinary chronicles. Yet, amidst the bounty of marine offerings, bonefish emerge as the pièce de résistance for the larger fish, creating a nuanced hierarchy within the oceanic gastronomic realm. This intricate interplay of prey and predator further enriches the narrative of the Atlantic horse mackerel’s culinary escapades.

Atlantic/ European Horse Mackerel Facts: Profile, Traits, Catch - SeaFish (2024)
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