Katsuwonus pelamis (Linnaeus, 1758)

Mylona, Dimitra, 2021, Catching tuna in the Aegean: biological background of tuna fisheries and the archaeological implications, Anthropozoologica 56 (2), pp. 23-37: 28

publication ID

http://doi.org/ 10.5252/anthropozoologica2021v56a2



persistent identifier


treatment provided by


scientific name

Katsuwonus pelamis (Linnaeus, 1758)


Katsuwonus pelamis (Linnaeus, 1758)  

Skipjack tuna, Κατσουβόνεια παλαμίδα/ λαϗέρδα/τονοπαλαμίδα

This is a highly migratory, cosmopolitan species, which forms large schools in warm/temperate waters. These often follow larger animals, such as whales and sharks. Their maximum recorded fork length is 110 cm and maximum recorded weight is 34.5 kg. Common length of mature individuals is 80 cm. It is absent from the Black Sea, but its status in the Mediterranean and in the Aegean more specifically is very unclear. ICCAT records ( ICCAT 2006 -2016) state that this species does not occur in the Mediterranean or the Black Sea. However, its presence is mentioned in various publications and in some of them it is described as common (for several cases in the Aegean Sea, see Papakonstantinou 1988: 136). Papanastasiou (1976: 500-503, based on Ananiadis 1970: 298, who, nevertheless, refers to Sarda sarda   which is also called παλαμίδα in Greek) suggests that spawning in the Greek Seas and along the North African coast takes place from April to September. Referring to both skipjack tuna and Atlantic bonito, which share the common name pelamid, he provides a migration calendar, which describes specific fishing grounds in particular months of the year, where they are caught by purse-seines and tuna traps (thynneia). Smaller individuals have more tender meat. In the Turkish market, pelamids ( Katsuwonus   and Sarda   ) are known with different names depending on their weight (palamite: 0.5-1 kg; bonito: 2-4.5 kg; torik: 4.5-7 kg; lackerdit: over 7 kg), even though they are not distinct taxonomically ( Papanastasiou 1976: 502, 503).