- Large fish, about 6 feet long and up to 90 pounds.
- Blue upper body, silver belly, bronze lateral stripe. Blue and silver color helps them camouflage from predators.
- Gets its name from its yellow tail. Also has yellow fins.
- From southern Washington to Mazatlan, Mexico, including the Gulf of California.
- Most commonly encountered from Point Conception, California to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
- Live near rocky reefs, kelp beds, and offshore islands.
- Females can spawn at 2-3 years old.
- Younger females spawn once per spawning season (June to October), while older females can spawn multiple times per season.
- Females release about 150 eggs at a time, but only 100 are fertilized.
- Yellowtail reproduce by broadcast spawning, where the eggs and sperm are released into the water.
- Mackerel, sardines, squid, anchovies, and California flying fish.
- Yellowtail eggs are eaten by mollusks, echinoderms, crabs, and fish.
- Subadults are eaten by striped marlin in drift kelp.
- Yellowtail adults are eaten by mako sharks, California sea lions, and humans.
- There are over 40 species of symbiotic parasites that live on the gills and in the guts of yellowtail.
- You may have eaten raw yellowtail in sushi, where it is known instead as hamachi.
Sources: California Sea Grant; Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Photo: David R. Andrew
Scripps scientists Stuart Sandin and Noah Ben-Aderet embarked on a large cooperative project with yellowtail fishermen, where fish were tagged and tracked, and fishermen reported any fish caught wearing a tag. This ambitious tagging project helped determine that there is a yearlong resident population of California yellowtail in San Diego.