Animal Species:Mahi Mahi, Coryphaena hippurus (Linnaeus, 1758)

The Mahi Mahi is a slender pelagic species that occurs in tropical and warm temperate waters worldwide.

Standard Common Name

Mahi Mahi

Alternative Name/s

Dolphin, Dolphin Fish, Dolphin-fish, Dorado, Mahi-mahi, Mahimahi

Identification

The Mahi Mahi has an elongate compressed body and a forked tail. Its long-based dorsal fin starts above or slightly behind the eyes.

The species is usually metallic blue-green above and silver with a golden sheen on the sides. There are iridescent blue to black spots on the sides.

The Mahi Mahi and Pompano Mahi Mahi can be separated by body depth (less than versus greater than 25% of standard length respectively). The tooth patch on the tongue is oval versus trapezoid. There are also differences in the number of dorsal fin rays, lateral line scales and vertebrae.

Size range

It grows to 2.1 m in length and over 22 kg in weight. Individuals this size are rarely encountered. Common Dolphinfish are usually seen up to about 1 m in length.

Similar Species

Pompano Mahi Mahi, Coryphaena equiselis

Distribution

The species occurs in tropical and warm temperate waters worldwide.

In Australia it is known from marine waters around the entire country, but is more common in warmer waters.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Coryphaena hippurus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Mahi Mahi specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?

Economic/social impacts

It is a popular angling species and an excellent food fish that often congregates around fish attracting devices.

Classification

Species:
hippurus
Genus:
Coryphaena
Family:
Coryphaenidae
Order:
Perciformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Collette, B.B. in Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem. 1999. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 4. Bony fishes part 2 (Mugilidae to Carangidae). FAO. Rome Pp. iii-v, 2069-2790.
  3. Gibbs, R.H. Jr & B.B. Collette, 1959.  On the Identification, Distribution and Biology of the Dolphins, Coryphaena hippurus and C. equiselis.  Bulletin of Marine Science of the Gulf and Caribbean. 9(2): 117-152.
  4. Glover, C.J.M. in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  5. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  6. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.
  7. Stewart, A. & C.D. Roberts. 2003. Specimens of northern fishes sought. Seafood New Zealand. 11(11): 65-67.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Mahi Mahi, Coryphaena hippurus, Coryphaenidae, slender, pelagic, tropical water, temperate water, Dolphin, Dolphin Fish, Dolphin-fish, Dorado, Mahi-mahi, Mahimahi, elongate, compressed body, forked tail, metallic blue, blue-green, silver, iridescent blue spots, black spots, dots/spots, > 2m, marine,