When exploring the world of marine life, the Atlantic Ocean holds the treasure of fascinating creatures that roam in the open water. One such species that has captured the imagination of marine enthusiasts is the Atlantic horse mackerel. These adept swimmers contribute significantly to preserving the marine ecology, the natural world, and the fishing industry. To learn more about these remarkable creatures, let’s delve into the vast world of Atlantic horse mackerel and explore more about their lifestyle.
What Is the Scientific Classification of Atlantic Horse Mackerel?
Scientifically, the Atlantic horse mackerel are classified as:
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Order: Carangiformes
- Family: Carangidae
- Genus: Trachurus
- Species: trachurus
What Habitat Does the Atlantic Horse Mackerel Prefer?
Atlantic Horse Mackerel is a pelagic fish that favors open water over coastal locations. These species have been sighted around the European coast, although they have a wide geographic range in the North Atlantic Ocean. They frequently stay closer to the surface at night and dive to depths of 200 meters or more during the day to avoid being eaten by larger fish and marine creatures.
How Does the Atlantic Horse Mackerel Look Like?
The Atlantic Horse Mackerel is easily recognizable by its elongated, sleek appearance and vibrant coloration. They have streamlined bodies, pointed snouts, and a forked tail fin, which helps them in agile swimming. The body of the Atlantic horse mackerel is characterized by iridescent blue-green hues on the back and silver-white on the belly, with a series of dark wavy lines running along their sides.
They have two dorsal fins; one is spiny and the other is soft-rayed and a series of small finlets running along their back and belly. The adult Atlantic Horse Mackerel measures between 10 and 24 inches in length, however, some species can grow up to 18 inches as well.
What Diet and Feeding Habitat Do the Atlantic Horse Mackerel Prefer?
The Atlantic Horse Mackerel are carnivorous species that feed primarily on smaller fishes, squids, and crustaceans. They are opportunistic feeders and target the schools of small fishes like anchovies and herring. Their voracious appetite plays an essential part in the marine food web and helps in regulating the population of the prey.
How Does the Atlantic Horse Mackerel Reproduce?
The reproductive cycle of Atlantic Horse Mackerel occurs during their migratory journey. They spawn in the open waters of the Atlantic and egg into the currents. The fertilized eggs then drift with the ocean currents and hatch into the larval fish. The larvae then undergo a series of transformations and develop into a juvenile Atlantic Horse Mackerel, which continues to grow and mature eventually to join the migratory journey of adult species.
What Is the Ecological Importance of the Atlantic Mackerel?
Being a predatory species, the Atlantic horse mackerel plays a key role in maintaining the balance in the marine ecosystem. They support the growth and survival of many larger predators such as seabirds, sharks, haddock, and cod. Moreover, as a filter feeder, they control the population of plankton and upkeep the stability and overall health of the ocean ecosystem.
What is the Conservational Rank of The Atlantic Horse Mackerel?
The Atlantic horse mackerel is placed on the IUCN Red List as Vulnerable even though it is not currently threatened or endangered. Overfishing either for commercial or recreational purposes poses a significant threat to their population and challenges to their long-term survival. Similarly, climate change is another potential threat that targets the distribution and abundance of Atlantic horse mackerel. These changes may impact their prey availability and alter their migratory patterns.
Interesting Facts About the Atlantic Horse Mackerel
Atlantic Horse Mackerel are a fascinating species with a variety of interesting facts, such as:
- These species exhibit schooling behavior and often swim in large, dense schools, consisting of thousands of members.
- The diet of large predators such as dolphins, tuna, and seabirds, includes Atlantic Horse Mackerel.
- They can live only for 3 to 5 years.
- They are active swimmers who can reach a high speed of 30 miles per hour, labeling them as skilled hunters.
- They are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins that contribute to the overall heart health and well-being of mankind.
The Atlantic horse mackerel is a remarkable fish species that inhabits the vast waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Their unique appearance, vertical migrations, and ecological role make them a subject of fascination for marine scientists and a valuable resource for commercial and recreational fishermen alike. Understanding their biology, supporting sustainable fishing practices and stricter regulations are crucial to ensure that Atlantic horse mackerel populations remain healthy and thrive in the Atlantic for generations to come.