Those gifs are wholly mackerel!Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus) are dazzling denizens of the…

Those gifs are wholly mackerel!

Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus) are dazzling denizens of the California coast. Migrating to colder waters off of Washington in the summer and down to warmer Baja California in the winter, plentiful parties of these planktivorous pisces are commonly spotted south of Point Conception, where they make a meal of drifting morsels while dodging hungry hordes of seabirds, seals and tuna.

(This latter predator must add some insult to injury in the fray, as Pacific mackerel are scombrids and close cousins to their larger, faster tunid terrors.)

Pacific mackerel were once a staple in the Cannery Row days, and today are a responsibly managed, sustainable fishery along the West Coast.

A final fun fact: Schooling fishes of different species tend to group together based on size—every now and again there will be a standout jack mackerel Trachurus symmetricus in our exhibit lacking the distinctive green-gray-blue backs of the Pacific mackerel. We don’t give names to the fishes but if you find a sly horse mackerel feel free to call it ‘Waldo’!

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