American Oceans

White Marlin

The white marlin (Kajikia albida) is a billfish that lives in the Atlantic Ocean’s central region. It is also referred to as the Atlantic white marlin, marlin, or skilligalee.

White Marlin or Kajikia albida in atlantic ocean

They are found in waters with a depth of greater than 100 meters, although they prefer to remain close to the surface.

However, the white marlin congregates near banks, shoals, and canyons, and they prefer surface temperatures over 22 °C.

Characteristics and Appearance

White marlins are medium-sized billfish around the bill and a forked tail fin. The upper half of their body is a dark blue to chocolate brown, while the lower half is silvery-white.

White Marlin spear-like jaw appearance

The upper jaw is slender and spear-like in appearance. Its first fin is blue-black with small black spots. The dorsal and anal fins are circular, and a line clearly defines the fish’s side.

Weight and Length

White marlins have a body shape that appears long and sleek, which enables them to swim quickly.

White Marlin long and sleek body length

To assess the length of the K. albida, start at the jaw and measure to the tail fork (lower-jaw fork length).

At 2.8 meters, LJFL was the largest white marlin reported (9.2 ft), weighing more than 82 kg (181 lb).

Physical Appearance

The color of the white marlin is bimodal: dark blue on one side and dingy white on the other. This is referred to as “countershading.”

While all-white marlin shares the same color pattern, they have distinct sexual characteristics where the females are often larger than males.

Although the white marlin and the blue marlin (Makaira nigricans) share numerous characteristics, the formation of their dorsal fins distinguishes them.

The white marlin has a spherical dorsal fin which is speckled, while the blue marlin is without spots.

The body of the white marlin is dark blue above and silvery-white below. On the sides of the white portion, there are brown blotches.

They also feature numerous rows of faint white lines, which may be visible when running through some specimens.

There are dark blue and black dots on the first dorsal fin of the white marlin. These patches may diminish away toward the back, but they are still visible.

When a fish’s second and pelvic fins are dark blue, its pectoral fins are blackish-brown and have a white tip, which is described as “white-tipped.” As is the case with many istiophoridae, the color of the white marlin changes as it is agitated.

Lifespan and Reproduction

K. albida has a massive spawning population in warm tropical seas around the equator. Each female white marlin has an egg-laying capacity of between 190,000 and 586,000.

White marlin thrives in Mexico, southwest Bermuda, the Mona Passage, and northwest Grand Bahama Island.

These places have been determined to be breeding-suitable. They return to the warm, shallow tropical waters each year to spawn.

White marlin has a rapid growth rate, with males reaching sexual maturity at 153.2 cm LJFL, while females reach sexual maturity at 189.9 cm LJFL. White marlin has been known to live for up to 15 years.


The white marlin is an aquatic and oceanic fish found in the western Atlantic, from Nova Scotia to Argentina and the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

Additionally, the Atlantic Ocean is home to this species. White marlin spend most of their time in the upper 40 to 100 feet of the water column during warm weather.

The white marlin is a very active species. They travel north off the coast of the United States from May to October and south in the winter.

This species is found throughout Europe and North America and South Africa and South America. It is found across the tropical, subtropical, and temperate zones.

It is also found in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, among other places.

Where Does White Marlin Live?

White marlin inhabits tropical and temperate Atlantic seas, including the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the Western Mediterranean. They are also frequently spotted around the beach’s shallow water.

Food and Diet

The white marlin is a species of fish that prey on other fish species. Schooling Flying fish, squid, small tuna, and mahi-mahi are their primary prey.

The white marlin is an apex predator and will eat any prey that is small enough for them to ingest.

Additionally, the white marlin feeds on mackerel, dolphins, herring, flying fish, and squids and crabs during the day.

What Do White Marlin Eat?

The white marlin is known to be a nocturnal predator that likes sightseeing. They concentrate near fronts, which are locations where the temperature or salinity of two bodies of water diverges.

These confluences provide nutrient-rich upwellings that attract baitfish, providing reasonable feeding grounds for white marlin and other predatory fish.

According to mythology, white marlin can spear or cut their target with their bill and kill or terrify them.

It is important to note that the white marlin is not like swordfish in that they do not hunt in the same way that swordfish do. The white marlin prefers to run over prey rather than attack it first.

The white marlin mostly eats squid, which they consider to be necessary. They also eat dolphins, mackerels, blue runners, bonito, and flying fish. Along the central Atlantic coast, round herrings are a common food source.

The range of the white marlin is generally similar to that of the yellowfin tuna and blue marlin, but it is not identical everywhere. Since these fish consume many of the same meals, food competition may be intense.

Threats and Predators

While they do have predators, not all of them are malicious. Swordfish, great white sharks, and humans are the primary predators.

Human Threats

Humans pursue this species of fish for leisure and commercial purposes. Sport fishers mostly target these fish for their unique beaks and their ability to move quickly once caught.

Because commercial fishing is a business, the fish serve as a food source. When commercial fisheries pursue another aim, this fish is frequently seen by chance while chasing another target.

Climate and Global Warming

When oceans warm due to climate change, white marlin may go extinct, increasing the burden on their survival and making adaptation more difficult.


While they do have predators, they are not all nasty. Swordfish, great white sharks, and humans are the principal predators of fish.

Other Threats

Marlin is consumed by sharks such as the white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) and the shortfin mako (Carcharodon shortfin) (Isurus oxyrinchus).

Although extremely rare, the cookie-cutter shark (Isistius brasiliensis) has been observed biting into the meat of marlins.

Conservation Status

The Atlantic white marlin is not listed as a threatened or endangered species. However, the primary threat to white marlin fish going extinct is foreign commercial long-line fishing vessels specializing in tuna and swordfish that capture the bulk of white marlins.

Fun fact about White Marlin

  • The white marlin can conceal themselves even when there is nothing else to hide behind. They can accomplish this through the use of countershading. They appear in the sky as dark-colored waves. They seem to blend in when viewed from below. The light scales are transparent and blend in with the sunlight seamlessly.
  • White Marlin frequently demonstrates tailing technique while swimming. Tailing is when only the caudal fin’s dorsal lobe is visible above the water’s surface.
  • This marlin species, as well as others, are highly sought after in the sportfishing industry. Commercial fisheries, in addition to recreational fishing, target this species for food. Regrettably, this increased fishing pressure has resulted in a decline in the population.
  • Numerous areas have imposed a catch limit. This is to assist in maintaining the population’s health. Regrettably, the fish expends a great deal of energy during the capture and release process, reducing its chances of survival.
  • On rare occasions, small groups of five to twelve fish have been recorded eating on bait schools. However, large groups of numerous fish distributed across a large area are more common.
  • Each year, anglers in the United States are estimated to catch approximately 10,000 white marlins. Moreover, about 25% of these species are likely to be round-scale spearfish.

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