Description & Behavior

Yellowfin tuna, Thunnus albacares (Bonnaterre, 1788), aka ahi, yellowfinned albacore, Allison’s tuna, Pacific long-tailed tuna, and yellow-fin tunny, are members of the family Scombridae which includes: albacore, bonito, mackerel and tuna. Additional scientific names (synonyms) include:Neothunnus albacora (Lowe, 1839), Neothunnus catalinae (Jordan & Evermann, 1926), Neothunnus itosibi (Jordan & Evermann, 1926), Orcynus subulatus (Poey, 1875), Scomber albacares (Bonnaterre, 1788), Scomber albacorus (Lacepède, 1800), Scomber sloanei (Cuvier, 1832), Semathunnus guildi (Fowler, 1933), Thunnus albacora (Lowe, 1839), Thunnus allisoni (Mowbray, 1920), Thunus albacares (Bonnaterre 1788), Thynnus albacora (Lowe, 1839), Thynnus argentivittatus (Cuvier, 1832), and Thynnus macropterus (Temminck & Schlegel, 1844).


Yellowfin tuna reach a total length of 2.08 m and a maximum weight of 200 kg. The average lifespan is 8 years. They have very long dorsal and anal fins, and moderately long pectoral fins.

Yellowfin tuna are black to dark blue in color with a yellow or silver belly. Their dorsal fin, anal fins and finlets are bright yellow.

Yellowfin tuna are extremely fast swimmers reaching speeds up to 80 kph. They are able to streamline their body for faster swimming by folding their fins into special indentations.

World Range & Habitat

Yellowfin tuna, Thunnus albacares, travel long distances. Migratory patterns have shown distances traveled from the US Pacific Coast to Japan. They are pelagic fish found from 1-250 m deep. They can be found worldwide in tropical and subtropical seas with the exception of the Mediterranean Sea.

Yellowfin are an oceanic species occurring above and below thermoclines. They school primarily by size, either in monospecific or multispecies groups. Larger fish frequently school with dolphins.

Feeding Behavior (Ecology)

Yellowfin tuna, Thunnus albacares, feed on fishes, crustaceans and squid.

Life History

The peak spawning period for yellowfin tuna, Thunnus albacares, occurs during summer months; however spawning also occurs throughout the year. Eggs are fertilized externally after mating when they are released into the water.

Conservation Status & Comments

Yellowfin tuna are a popular seafood worldwide and are therefore at continual risk of overfishing (see more details).

Yellowfin tunas, Thunnus albacares, are listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species:

NEAR THREATENED (NT) – A taxon is Near Threatened when it has been evaluated against the criteria but does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable now, but is close to qualifying for or is likely to qualify
for a threatened category in the near future.

References & Further Research

Research Thunnus albacares @
Barcode of Life ~ BioOne ~ Biodiversity Heritage Library ~ CITES ~ Cornell Macaulay Library ~ Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) ~ ESA Online Journals ~ FishBase ~ Florida Museum of Natural History Ichthyology Department ~ GBIF ~ Google Scholar ~ ITIS ~ IUCN RedList (Threatened Status) ~ Marine Species Identification Portal ~ NCBI (PubMed, GenBank, etc.) ~ Ocean Biogeographic Information System ~ PLOS ~ SIRIS ~ Tree of Life Web Project ~ UNEP-WCMC Species Database ~ WoRMS

Search for Yellowfin Tuna @
Flickr ~ Google ~ Picsearch ~ Wikipedia ~ YouTube