Built like a torpedo, I race through the water at speeds up to 43 miles per hour. My pectoral (side) fin can retract and my eyes are flush with my body, meaning I am extremely streamlined, which helps with speed and endurance. My shiny metallic coloring, blue on top and white on bottom, is great camouflage and helps me hide from onlookers above and below. However, I am big, which makes me hard to miss! My average size is 6.5 feet long and my average weight is 550 pounds!
Because of my speed, fishermen view hooking me as the ultimate challenge. Although I’m quite fast, fishermen often catch up to me, which poses a threat to my existence. Our meat is quite delicious, and overfishing has led to plummeting population numbers. There are catch limits in place to help my population, but unfortunately, they are not always followed. If all fishermen follow the catch limits, it will help protect us from overfishing. If not, I worry my population will continue to decline, and one day extinction will be hard to avoid.
Did You Know?
The word “tuna” originates from the Greek word that means “to rush.” That’s fitting, given my speed! We are warm-blooded fish (which is quite uncommon), allowing us to keep our body temperatures higher than the surrounding waters. This special trait, known as thermoregulation, allows us to live in a wide variety of climates.
We are schooling fish and like to stick together based on size. We use our speed to pursue darting, schooling fish, and swim slowly with open mouths to catch small, slow moving prey. We don’t dive too deep into the water and instead prefer to stay at depths where we can see sunlight. We don’t like to stay in one place for too long—instead, we roam the seas and have even been tracked traveling from the Bahamas to Norway!
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