Yellowtail, redtail, bluetail, one of these is not like the others

When is a Jack mackerel a yellow tail or perhaps a Horse mackerel?
This is not a riddle.
Why oh why can names not be standarised?
It would make my life easier.
Why is that I buy two fish identification books for the New Zealand area and they do not agree on names?
Frustrating!

We caught one blue mackerel and we didn’t know what it was. I was cautious of it being a size restricted fish so in the interest of “better safe than sorry” I made the executive decision to throw it back. It turned out to be the wrong decision but I can live with that.
Now I can recognise the difference between a Blue mackerel and a Jack mackerel. I know for next time.
The presence of Blue Mackerel on the day we saw the whale means perhaps they both like krill and the krill were around.
According to one source the Blue mackerel like to swim below schools of Jack mackerel. So there you go.

Blue Mackerel found in New Zealand:


Blue Mackerel/English Mackerel
Scomber australasicus
Drawing sourced from Eagle Magic

Jack mackerel found in New Zealand:

Greenback horse mackerel / Horse Mackerel
Trachurus declivis
Drawing sourced from¬† Zoological results of the fishing experiments carried out by F.I.S. “Endeavor” 1909-10 under H.C. Dannevig


Yellowtail Horse Mackerel/ Yellowtail Scad/ Jack Mackerel / Yellowtail
Trachurus novaezelandiae
Drawing sourced from the Department of Primary Industries, Victoria, Australia

Murphy’s Mackerel
Trachurus murphyi
Drawing sourced from Food and Agriculture Organization
of United Nations

Okay I have looked at the drawings and just like on Seasame Street I tried to play the game of “One of these things in not like the other,” and I came up only with one of them was in colour and the others were in black and white. I cannot see the difference between the three fish.
Apart from perhaps if the Trachurus murphyi has a gap in the anal fin near the tail otherwise I have no idea.
Then the Z shape of the lateral line is more rounded with the Trachrus novaezelandiae, but this could just be artistic interpretation.
I am still no further along determining the differences if there are any. Perhaps it is just an internal difference? I think not.


Drawing from Ocean Oasis

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One thought on “Yellowtail, redtail, bluetail, one of these is not like the others

  1. Pingback: A grilling onboard | Midori Lantern

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