Bluefin Tuna

Last updated: August 22, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Al McGlashan/

The bluefin is one of the largest fish in the world

Bluefin Tuna Scientific Classification


Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Bluefin Tuna Conservation Status

Bluefin Tuna Locations

Bluefin Tuna Locations

Bluefin Tuna Facts

Main Prey
Fish, crustaceans, cephalopods, and mollusks
Group Behavior
  • School
Fun Fact
The bluefin is one of the largest fish in the world
Estimated Population Size
More than a million
Biggest Threat
Most Distinctive Feature
The torpedo-shaped body
Other Name(s)
Giant bluefin
Gestation Period
A few days
Ray-finned fish
Common Name
Bluefin tuna
Number Of Species

Bluefin Tuna Physical Characteristics

  • Grey
  • Blue
  • Silver
Skin Type
Top Speed
50 mph
Up to 40 years
Up to 2,000lbs
1.8m – 4.2m (6ft - 14ft)

This post may contain affiliate links to our partners like Chewy, Amazon, and others. Purchasing through these helps us further the A-Z Animals mission to educate about the world's species..

View all of the Bluefin Tuna images!

The bluefin is the largest and most prized of all the tuna species.

There are generally three bluefin species: the Pacific bluefin and the Atlantic bluefin in the Northern Hemisphere and the southern bluefin in the Southern Hemisphere.

3 Incredible Bluefin Tuna Facts!

  • The bluefin tuna fish can dive deeper than 3,000 feet.
  • The bluefin tuna fish has excellent vision, perhaps the best of any bony fish.
  • The bluefin tuna fish migrates vast distances every year in large schools.

Bluefin Tuna Classification and Scientific Name

The Pacific, Atlantic, and southern bluefins go by the scientific names of Thunnus orientalis, Thunnus thynnus, and Thunnus maccoyii, respectively. Although they are distinctive species, the bluefins have similar appearances and behaviors.

Bluefin Tuna Appearance

The bluefin is characterized by a metallic gray, blue, and silver body with retractable fins and eyes set flush against the body. These are gigantic fish, often weighing between 1,000 and 2,000 pounds in size. The largest bluefin ever caught set a world record of 1,500 pounds.

Bluefin tuna Thunnus thynnus saltwater fish in Mediterranean


Bluefin Tuna Distribution, Population, and Habitat

The Pacific and Atlantic bluefin are only found in the northern parts of their respective oceans, while the southern bluefin is endemic to the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere.

Due to overfishing, many bluefin stocks are in peril. The Pacific bluefin is vulnerable, the Atlantic bluefin is endangered, and the southern bluefin is critically endangered. Learn more about the most endangered species on the planet here.

Bluefin Tuna Predators and Prey

The bluefin is one of the top predators in the open oceans. Its fast speed and large size make it a formidable presence.

What does the Bluefin Tuna eat?

The bluefins consume squid, shellfish, and bony fish.

What eats the Bluefin Tuna?

An adult bluefin is preyed upon by billfishes, toothed whales, and some shark species. Numerous animals feed on the juveniles and eggs.

Bluefin Tuna Reproduction and Lifespan

The bluefin reproduces every spawning season by releasing millions of sperm and eggs into the water column. These fertilized eggs hatch after only a few days, but most of them are lost from attrition almost immediately. The bluefins that survive will take up to 8 years to develop and live some 20 to 40 years in the wild.

Bluefin in Fishing and Cooking

The three species of bluefin together only account for 1% of total tuna stocks. However, the high-quality meat of the bluefin is considered to be a delicacy in many cuisines, especially sushi and sashimi. The fatty otoro meat is taken from the stomach near the head, while the leaner chutoro comes from the middle or back stomach.

View all 257 animals that start with B

About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

Bluefin Tuna FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Why is bluefin so expensive?

Both overfishing and the decline of bluefin stocks have driven up prices. The flesh of the bluefin is also quite desirable.

Is catching bluefin illegal?

In the US it does require an NOAA permit to catch or import the bluefin. Illegal fishing is a persistent challenge for replenishing stocks.

Is bluefin good to eat?

The bluefin is nutritious and well-regarded for its meat. However, due to its long lifespan, high mercury levels do accumulate in its flesh, so it should be consumed infrequently.

What do bluefin eat?

Bluefin consumes shellfish, squid, and other fish.

Where are bluefin found?

Bluefin is found all over the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

How many Bluefin Tunas are left in the world?

There are more than a million Bluefin Tunas.

What is an interesting fact about the Bluefin Tuna?

The bluefin is one of the largest fish in the world.

How fast is a Bluefin Tuna?

A Bluefin Tuna can travel at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.

How do Bluefin Tunas have babies?

Bluefin Tunas lay eggs.

What are the differences between Bluefin tuna and Yellowfin tuna?

The main differences between bluefin and yellowfin tuna are that bluefin is significantly larger, fetch a higher price, and have a smaller global distribution than yellowfin.

Both bluefin and yellowfin tuna are top predators in the world’s oceans, but there are some definitive differences between them. Worldwide, there are three recognized bluefin species, and only one recognized yellowfin species. All three bluefin species are highly prized as sport and culinary fish, but the yellowfin is also seeing an increase in both markets as well. These large, powerful fish are easily identifiable and are clear apex predators in any habitat they frequent.

What are the differences between Bluefin tuna and Bigeye tuna?

The main differences between bluefin tuna and bigeye tuna include their size, appearance, location and water depth.

What are the main differences between Ahi Tuna and Bluefin Tuna?

Ahi tuna and the bluefin tuna differ in size, appearance, pectoral fins, and water depths.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

  1. WWF, Available here:
  2. National Geographic, Available here:

Newly Added Animals

A Cubera Snapper
Cubera Snapper

While very intimidating, the cubera snapper also falls prey to other marine animals like barracudas, whale sharks, and moray eels.

A Tiger Trout
Tiger Trout

As tiger trout are sterile, they cannot produce offspring. However, they do have relatively long lifespans and can live up to 10 years in captivity.

Most Recently Updated Animals

A Dragonfly

It's larvae are carnivorous!

A Mussurana Snake
Mussurana Snake

Mussurana snakes help keep rodents from overrunning farms.

A Copperhead

Copperheads get their name, unsurprisingly, from their bronze-hued heads.