Sea Life

Atlantic Horse Mackerel Facts & Information Guide

The Atlantic horse mackerel (Trachurus trachurus) is a pelagic fish found in the waters off the coasts of Europe and the Indian Ocean. It is a member of the jack family, which also includes the jack mackerel and the trevally. There is a growing demand for horse mackerel as a food fish, as well as for oil production.

Little has been known about the species despite being an integral part of marine ecology. The following sections are going to cover everything you need to know about the species and will include some amazing facts as well.

1: Scientific classification


2: Physical attributes

The Atlantic horse mackerel is a medium-sized fish with a maximum length of around 24 inches. It has an acutely forked tail and a body that is covered with small, shiny scales. The back and upper sides are blue-green in color, though the abdomen area is white. There are dark spots on the sides, and a dark line goes alongside the length of the body.

Atlantic Horse Mackerel

3: Habitat

The Atlantic horse mackerel is a small, pelagic fish found in the waters off the coast of Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, and as well as found in the Mediterranean Sea. It is a highly migratory species, moving north in the springtime and south in the fall. The Atlantic horse mackerel is found in both inshore and offshore waters and can be found at depths of up to 200 m. It is a schooling fish, often forming large shoals.

Habitat of Atlantic Horse Mackerel

The Atlantic horse mackerel is an important commercial fish and is harvested for both human consumption and fishmeal.

4: Diet

The diet of the Atlantic horse mackerel consists mostly of small fish, squid, and crustaceans. The mackerel feed on these animals near the surface of the water, using their sharp teeth to tear them apart. The mackerel are opportunistic feeders and will also eat carrion if they come through and there is no other option available.

Diet of Atlantic Horse Mackerel

5: Fisheries

This species is of commercial importance and is caught using a variety of methods, including purse seines, gill nets, and trawls. It is used fresh, ice-covered, or preserved and is also popular as a baitfish. The Atlantic horse mackerel is considered to be a good food fish and is highly valued in many countries.

6: Lifespan

It is because of this wide migratory range that the Atlantic horse mackerel’s lifespan varies from place to place. According to the latest research, southern region mackerels live as long as 24 years, while northern mackerel live as long as 40 years. It clearly shows how the surrounding environment affects the life expectancy of the species.

7: Conservation status

The Atlantic horse mackerel is not currently listed as rare or threatened. However, overfishing and bycatch are still major threats to the population. Atlantic horse mackerel are often held as bycatch in commercial fisheries aiming at other species. They are also popular in recreational fishing. The IUCN, as of now, has rated the species as vulnerable.

Conservation status of Atlantic Horse Mackerel

Atlantic horse mackerel facts

  • The common name for the horse mackerel is derived from the legend that it would carry other smaller fishes on its back.
  • In addition to their rich nutritional content, horse mackerels have a strong taste and are important to commercial fisheries.
  • In order to avoid predators, juvenile horse mackerels will hide within jellyfish tentacles.
  • As a protection measure, horse mackerels form schools with other fish, even when they normally congregate with other mackerels.


The Atlantic horse mackerel is a small pelagic fish originating in the Atlantic Ocean. It is an imperative commercial fish and is also popular as a bait fish. The Atlantic horse mackerel is a hardy fish and can be inspected in a diversity of habitats. It is a fast-swimming fish and is known for its high-quality flesh and nutritious content.

About the author

Ameer Hamza

Ameer Hamza is a well-versed content writer who has been a part of the writing industry for over 4 years and part of Talha Saif Enterprises as an Author for over a year. Through his love of writing, he has developed his own writing style. He enjoys writing articles and blog posts that provide readers with detailed and accurate information. The knowledge he gained from his education helped him tackle many different subjects without any problem. As an avid reader and technology geek, Ameer is always on the lookout for the latest innovations.