American Oceans

What Are The Different Types of Marlin

Marlin is a species of large-sized, open oceanic fish that derives its name from their elongated upper jaw and a sharp, lethal bill that extends to form the shape of a sword or a spear, which they use to slash, and stun prey.

Striped Marlin is a Different Type of Billfish

There are four types of Marlin belonging to the billfish family, all similar in appearance. However, each has unique characteristics that distinguish them from the other.

Keep reading to learn more about the different types of Marlin you may come across in the ocean.

Blue Marlin

The Blue Marlin is the largest species of the billfish family, with Atlantic Blue Marlin weighing around 1800 lbs and growing 15 feet long.

Blue Marlin catched in oceanic waters

Inhabiting the deep, blue oceanic waters of the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic, Blue Marlin are among the most aggressive and lethal marine predators.

Blue Marlin have some distinct characteristics. They are cobalt blue on the top and have a steep dorsal fin with a silvery-white underside.

Their pectoral fins are flexible and fold close against their sides. Another distinguishing feature is that Blue Marlin often feature blue vertical stripes on their sides.

Blue Marlin leaping with blue vertical stripes

While these may be confused with the Striped Marlin, they fade away when the species is under stress or dead.

Black Marlin

Native to the tropical and subtropical waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans and occasionally found on the Australian coast during warmer months, Black Marlin are the second largest of all marlin species.

Black Marlin with pointed dorsal fins

These marine creatures can reach weights over 1600 lbs and measure up to 14 feet long, with males being smaller than females.

The Black Marlin is considered one of the fastest fish in the oceans, capable of reaching top speeds of 68 miles per hour, followed by its close relative, the Sailfish.

Dark blue on the top and silvery under the belly, Black Marlin feature pointed dorsal fins that are lower and rounder than other marlin species. They have shorter bills and rigid pectoral fins that cannot fold against their body.

Striped Marlin

Striped Marlin, also known as Nairagi in Japanese, are a highly migratory species of fish inhabiting the warm waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Striped Marlin species in warm waters

While they closely resemble the Blue Marlin, the main distinguishing features of these types of marlin are the blue vertical stripes running along their body and their light blue color. They also have the slenderest bill compared to other types of marlin.

They are larger than the White Marlin but significantly smaller than the Blue Marlin and can reach up to 12 feet long and weigh a maximum of approximately 450 lbs.

White Marlin

The White Marlin, or the Atlantic White Marlin, is the smallest of all marlin species, growing up to 9 feet in length and weighing around 180 lbs.

Atlantic White Marlin swim near water surface

They are dark blue on the upper half of the body with a silvery-white underbelly, featuring brown spots on the sides of the white area running straight along the body.

The first dorsal fin is blue-black with several small black spots, while the pectoral fins are brown-black.

Found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, White Marlin live near the water’s surface and swim at higher latitudes when water temperatures are warm during the summer months.

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