Atlantic blue marlin
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Istiophoridae


Photo of eight long-nosed fish on the beach
Morning catch of marlin at Jimbaran, Indonesia

Marlin, family Istiophoridae, are fish with an elongated body, a spear-like snout or bill, and a long rigid dorsal fin, which extends forward to form a crest. Its common name is thought to derive from its resemblance to a sailor's marlinspike.[1] Even more so than their close relatives the scombrids, marlin are incredibly fast swimmers, reaching speeds of about 110 kilometres per hour (68 mph).[2][3]

The larger species include the Atlantic blue marlin, Makaira nigricans, which can reach 5.968 metres (19.58 ft) in length and 818 kilograms (1,800 lb) in weight, and the Black marlin, Makaira indica, which can reach in excess of 5 metres (16 ft) in length and 670 kilograms (1,500 lb) in weight. They are popular sporting fish in tropical areas. Many sporting fishers like to try their luck at catching a massive marlin.

Marlin are rarely table fare, appearing mostly in fine restaurants. Most modern sport fishermen release marlin after unhooking.

Very large marlin, which may set a record, are taken and weighed on shore. Records are most often recorded in the IGFA World Record Game Fish books. The current record has stood for some 20 years.



The marlins are perciform fish, most closely related to the swordfish and Scombridae.

Family Istiophoridae

  • Genus Istiophorus
    • Istiophorus albicans—Atlantic sailfish
    • Istiophorus platypterus—Indo-Pacific sailfish
  • Genus Makaira
    • Makaira indica—Black marlin
    • Makaira mazara—Indo-Pacific blue marlin
    • Makaira nigricans—Atlantic blue marlin
  • Genus Tetrapturus
    • Tetrapturus albidus—Atlantic white marlin
    • Tetrapturus angustirostris—Shortbill spearfish
    • Tetrapturus audax—Striped marlin
    • Tetrapturus belone—Mediterranean spearfish
    • Tetrapturus georgii—Roundscale spearfish
    • Tetrapturus pfluegen—Longbill spearfish

Timeline of genera

Sustainable consumption

In 2010, Greenpeace International has added the striped marlin, white marlin, atlantic blue marlin, black marlin, and Makaira (Indo-pacific blue marlin) to its seafood red list. "The Greenpeace International seafood red list is a list of fish that are commonly sold in supermarkets around the world, and which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries."[4]

In literature

In the Nobel Prize–winning author Ernest Hemingway's 1952 novel The Old Man and the Sea, the central character of the work is an aged Cuban fisherman who, after 84 days without success on the water, heads out to sea in order to break his run of bad luck. On the 85th day, Santiago—the old fisherman—hooks a resolute marlin; what follows is a great struggle between man, sea creature, and the elements.

See also



  1. ^ Douglas Harper (November 2001). "marlin". Online Etymological Dictionary. 
  2. ^ Johnson, G.D. & Gill, A.C. (1998). Paxton, J.R. & Eschmeyer, W.N.. ed. Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 190–191. ISBN 0-12-547665-5. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Greenpeace International Seafood Red list


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • marlin — [ marlɛ̃ ] n. m. • 1933; angl. marlin (1917) ♦ Poisson téléostéen des mers chaudes, au rostre plus court et moins effilé que celui de l espadon. Marlin bleu. Marlin noir. ● marlin nom masculin Poisson téléostéen des mers chaudes, dont le rostre… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Marlin — Marlin, PA U.S. Census Designated Place in Pennsylvania Population (2000): 640 Housing Units (2000): 278 Land area (2000): 0.900822 sq. miles (2.333117 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.900822 sq …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Marlin — Mar lin, n. (Zo[ o]l.) The American great marbled godwit ({Limosa fedoa}). Applied also to the red breasted godwit ({Limosa h[ae]matica}). [1913 Webster] 2. [from marlin spike, the shape of its bill.] Any of several marine billfishes of the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Marlin, PA — U.S. Census Designated Place in Pennsylvania Population (2000): 640 Housing Units (2000): 278 Land area (2000): 0.900822 sq. miles (2.333117 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.900822 sq. miles… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Marlin, TX — U.S. city in Texas Population (2000): 6628 Housing Units (2000): 2826 Land area (2000): 4.523077 sq. miles (11.714714 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.051266 sq. miles (0.132779 sq. km) Total area (2000): 4.574343 sq. miles (11.847493 sq. km) FIPS… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Marlín — is a village and municipality located in the province of Ávila, part of the autonomous community of Castile Leon, Spain. It has approximately 38 inhabitants. v …   Wikipedia

  • Marlín — Données générales Pays  Espagne Communauté autonome …   Wikipédia en Français

  • marlin — [mär′lin] n. pl. marlin or marlins [< MARLINESPIKE: from the shape] any of several large, slender, deep sea billfishes, esp. a bluish species (Makaira nigricans) …   English World dictionary

  • marlin — MARLÍN s.m. Numele unei specii de peşte care trăieşte în apele Mării Caraibilor. [< cuv. caraib]. Trimis de LauraGellner, 30.05.2005. Sursa: DN …   Dicționar Român

  • marlin — large marine game fish, 1917, shortening of marlinspike fish (1907), from marlinspike, name of a pointed iron tool used by sailors (see MARLINSPIKE (Cf. marlinspike)). The fish was so called from the shape of its elongated upper jaw …   Etymology dictionary

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