Occurs in tropical and warm temperate waters of the western Atlantic Ocean. There are scattered records of blackfin tuna occurring as far north as Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, but the usual range is from North Carolina to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.
The pectoral fins reach to somewhere between the twelfth dorsal spine and the origin of the second dorsal fin but they never extend beyond the second dorsal fin as in the albacore. There is a total of 19-25 (usually 21-23) gill rakers on the first arch (15-19 are on the lower limb), which is fewer than in any other species of Thunnus. The finlets are uniformly dark, without a touch of the bright lemon yellow usually present in those of other tunas. Light bars alternate with light spots on the lower flanks.
This is a pelagic, schooling fish that generally feeds near the surface. Its diet consists of small fishes, squid, crustaceans, and plankton. An excellent light tackle species, it can be taken by trolling or casting small baits or lures, including ballyhoo, mullet and other small fishes as well as strip baits, spoons, feathers, jigs, or plugs; or by live bait fishing from boats at the surface of deep waters one to two miles offshore. It has some local commercial importance, but is predominantly an angler's fish. It is a spunky game species and the flesh is of good quality and flavor
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