Coryphaena hippurus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Coryphaenidae

Scientific Name: Coryphaena hippurus Linnaeus, 1758
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Common Dolphinfish, Common Dolphin Fish, Dolphinfish, Dolphin Fish, Dorado, Green Dolphin, Mahimahi, Mahi-mahi, Mahi Mahi
French Clic, Coryphène Commune, Dauphin, Dorade, Dorade Coryphène
Spanish Dorado Común, Dorado Delfin, Lampuga, Llampuga
Coryphaena argyrurus Valenciennes, 1833
Coryphaena chrysurus Lacepède, 1801
Coryphaena dolfyn Valenciennes, 1833
Coryphaena dorado Valenciennes, 1833
Coryphaena fasciolata Pallas, 1770
Coryphaena immaculata Agassiz, 1831
Coryphaena imperialis Rafinesque, 1810
Coryphaena japonica Temminck & Schlegel, 1845
Coryphaena margravii Valenciennes, 1833
Coryphaena nortoniana Lowe, 1839
Coryphaena scomberoides Valenciennes, 1833
Coryphaena suerii Valenciennes, 1833
Coryphaena virgata Valenciennes, 1833
Coryphaena vlamingii Valenciennes, 1833
Ecterias brunneus Jordan & Evermann 1914
Lampugus siculus Valenciennes, 1833
Lepimphis hippuroides Rafinesque, 1810
Scomber pelagicus Linnaeus, 1758
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N. (ed.). 2015. Catalog of Fishes. Updated 7 January 2015. Available at: (Accessed: 7 January 2015).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-09-17
Assessor(s): Collette, B., Acero, A., Amorim, A.F., Boustany, A., Canales Ramirez, C., Cardenas, G., Carpenter, K.E., de Oliveira Leite Jr., N., Di Natale, A., Fox, W., Fredou, F.L., Graves, J., Viera Hazin, F.H., Juan Jorda, M., Minte Vera, C., Miyabe, N., Montano Cruz, R., Nelson, R., Oxenford, H., Schaefer, K., Serra, R., Sun, C., Teixeira Lessa, R.P., Pires Ferreira Travassos, P.E., Uozumi, Y. & Yanez, E.
Reviewer(s): Collen, B., Richman, N., Beresford, A., Cherney, A., Ram, M., Russell, B. & Polidoro, B.
Contributor(s): Milligan, HT, Lutz, M.L., Batchelor, A., Jopling, B., Kemp, K., Lewis, S., Lintott, P., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Smith, J. & Livingston, F.
Coryphaena hippurus is harvested throughout its circumglobal range. It can be locally abundant, is fast-growing, early maturing and short-lived. There are some localized declines in catch that may be related to overfishing. However, there is no indication that this species is undergoing significant population declines. It is therefore listed as Least Concern.

For further information about this species, see TUNAS_SkiJumpEffect.pdf.
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Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is widespread in tropical and temperate waters and occurs in the Atlantic, Indian, Pacific Oceans and the Mediterranean, though it is most common in waters between 21–30°C.
Countries occurrence:
American Samoa; Angola; Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Aruba; Australia; Bahamas; Bangladesh; Barbados; Belize; Benin; Bermuda; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Saba, Sint Eustatius); Bosnia and Herzegovina; Brazil; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; Cameroon; Canada (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia); Cape Verde; Cayman Islands; China; Christmas Island; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Colombia (Colombia (mainland), Colombian Caribbean Is., Malpelo I.); Comoros; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Cook Islands; Costa Rica; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cuba; Curaçao; Djibouti; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador (Ecuador (mainland), Galápagos); El Salvador; Equatorial Guinea; Fiji; France; French Guiana; French Polynesia; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Gibraltar; Greece; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guam; Guatemala; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Hong Kong; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Italy; Jamaica; Japan; Kenya; Kiribati; Lebanon; Liberia; Libya; Madagascar; Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak); Maldives; Malta; Marshall Islands; Martinique; Mauritania; Mauritius; Mexico; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Monaco; Montserrat; Morocco; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Nauru; New Caledonia; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Nigeria; Niue; Northern Mariana Islands; Oman; Pakistan; Palau; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Peru; Philippines; Pitcairn; Puerto Rico; Réunion; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (French part); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Samoa; Sao Tomé and Principe; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Solomon Islands; Somalia; South Africa; Spain; Sri Lanka; Suriname; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Togo; Tokelau; Tonga; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia; Turks and Caicos Islands; Tuvalu; United States (Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaiian Is., Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington); Uruguay; Vanuatu; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of (Aves I., Venezuela (mainland), Venezuelan Antilles); Viet Nam; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.; Wallis and Futuna; Western Sahara; Yemen
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – northeast; Atlantic – eastern central; Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – southeast; Atlantic – northwest; Atlantic – western central; Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western; Mediterranean and Black Sea; Pacific – western central; Pacific – eastern central; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – southeast
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):85
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:From 1961 to 2006, the reported worldwide landings for this species from FAO have gradually increased from 17,000 metric t, to a peak of 59,000 metric t (in 2005). In 2005, Japan reported 10,000 tonnes and Taiwan Province of China approximately 15,000 t.

In the Eastern Pacific, this species can be locally abundant. Data from the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC 2008) from 1976–2005 widely varies from 200 to 22,000 metric t, with a maximum of 22,000 metric t in 2001. Although there are no data on fishing effort, demand has not decreased. However, there have been many regional fishermen reporting that catches are decreasing, especially in Costa Rica and Ecuador where there are possibly localized declines in catch rates. In Peru, catch of this species is highly fluctuating; there was a catch in 2005–2006 of 2,000 and 4,000 mt by the artisanal fleet, but in 1998 21,000 t were caught after an El Niño event.

There is some evidence of multiple populations based on biological and morphological characteristics (Oxenford and Hunt 1986, Lessa et al. 2008, Duarte-Neto et al. 2008), however there is genetic connectivity between migratory groups in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM 2006) stock assessment recognized the uncertainty about stock structure and conducted separate analyses (one that recognizes separate north and southern stocks and one combining both). The conclusion from all of the assessments was that there was no decline in catch per unit effort (CPUE) indices and therefore the fishery appears sustainable at current levels. They did note the uncertainty and the need for more data from other countries within the stock area.

The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) 2010 stock assessment analysed data from the Caribbean, Venezuela, Brazil and the U.S. that corroborates that this species migrates from northern Brazil to the eastern Caribbean and may also enter the southeastern Caribbean Sea. The standardized CPUE indices for the eastern Caribbean corroborates that the stock is not declining. In Brazil there is evidence of at least two stocks, one in northern Brazil (shared with the Caribbean) and one in the northeastern Brazilian coast (Lessa et al. 2008). Although there is uncertainty in the data, the stock assessment in the northeast indicated that the stock is fully exploited (Lessa et al. 2009).

This species is widespread and is very common in the Mediterranean, and catches are increasing. The average catch from 2000 to 2009 was about 8,000–10,000 t per year (FAO 2009). Off the coast of Turkey it is seasonally common. FAO landing figures are available from Tunisia, Malta and Spain. Most of the current catch figures are from Tunisia and Spain and are currently increasing. Catches from Malta have remained relatively stable since 1950. The distribution of this species is expanding to the northern part of the western Mediterranean. Catches are much higher in late summer and early autumn.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Schools of Coryphaena hippurus can be found in open waters and near coastal areas. This species is found to a depth of 85 m. Its diet consists of smaller fishes, zooplankton, crustaceans, and squid.

This species is fast-growing, and matures relatively early. Maximum size is 200 cm, but more commonly is found to 100 cm.The all-tackle game fish record is of a 39.46 kg fish caught in Papagallo Gulf, Costa Rica in 1976 (IGFA 2011). Longevity can reach four years but is usually less than two years (Oxenford and Hunt 1983, Oxenford 1999, Lessa et al. 2008). Age at first maturity is three to four months in the Gulf of Mexico, four months in the Caribbean (Oxenford 1999), six to seven months in the northeastern North Atlantic, and four months in northeast Brazil (Lessa et al. 2008). Off North Carolina, males reach 50% maturity at 476 mm, 100% at 645 mm; females reach 50% maturity at 458 mm, 100% at 560 mm (Gibbs and Collette 1959, Oxenford 1999, Ditty 2005, Schwenke and Buckel 2008). In the eastern Caribbean, males reach 50% maturity at 91 cm fork length (FL) (four to five months old) and females at 83.5 cm FL (four to five months old) (Oxenford 1999). In Puerto Rico, 50% maturity is reached at 45 cm FL (greater than 7 months old) (Perez and Sadovy 1991).

Spawning is probably year-round at water temperatures greater than 21°C, and spawning occurs in the open water when water temperature rises. In temperate areas such as North Carolina, peak spawning occurs from April through July. In East African waters, spawning season may last from March to early June and spawning occurs inshore. In tropical regions spawning likely occurs year round. Batch spawning occurs at least two or three times per spawning period. Batch fecundity estimates in the west central Atlantic range from 58,000 to 1.5 million eggs and are strongly influenced by size (Gibbs and Collette 1959, Ditty 2005, Schwenke and Buckel 2008, Oxenford 1999). In southern Brazil, spawning occurs from November to February, at least between 20–28°S (Amorim, pers. comm. 2010).
Movement patterns:Full Migrant
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: A very highly appreciated sportsfish and foodfish, frequently marketed under the Hawaiian name 'Mahi-mahi'. It is marketed frozen and fresh and is of high value.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats known to this species. However, it is of high commercial value, with a global catch of 58,076 t in 2005, and is extensively harvested throughout its range (FAO-FIGIS 2005). There have been observed declines in catch in the Eastern Pacific, but this is thought to be a consequence of higher catches during El Niño events.

This species is caught in various types of fishing gear, including longlines, purse seine vessels, and recreational fishing vessels (Palko et al. 1982). It is one of the most important species in artisanal fisheries around the world.

In the Mediterranean, this species is caught in association with fish attracting devices (FADS), trolling line and sport fisheries. These attracting devices such as floating bundles of bamboo reeds or cork planks are used to concentrate Dolphinfish before nets are set. The use of FADS are increasing the bycatch of this species (Nelson pers. comm. 2010). Small quantities are taken as bycatch in longline and driftnet fisheries.

The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) recognizes that the lack of any institutional framework or regional body for collaborative or shared management of this resource is a concern given the increasing catches of this species in the region (CRFM 2006).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is considered a highly migratory species under Annex I of the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea.

In Ecuador, there is a minimum catch size of 70 or 80 cm. In Mexico, there are area-closures for commercial fishing for this species, and a two fish sport limit. In the past, there have been conservation measures implemented by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) for no purse-seine fishing. In Ecuador, 50% of the fishing fleet, including those for tunas, use an experimental sorting grid to release juveniles, small tunas and other bycatch species. In 2005, a recreational fishing limit of five fish per fishermen per fishing day was established for this species in Puerto Rico (Rodrigues-Ferrer et al. 2006).

In the U.S., there are bag limits and size limits in the recreational fishery and size and trip limits in the commercial fishery (SAFMC 2003).

This species' distribution overlaps with a number of marine protected areas.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.1. Marine Neritic - Pelagic
10. Marine Oceanic -> 10.1. Marine Oceanic - Epipelagic (0-200m)

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.2. Intentional use: (large scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Negligible declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Food - human
 National : ✓  International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Beardsley, G.L. 1967. Age, growth, and reproduction of the dolphin, Coryphaena hippurus, in the Straits of Florida. Copeia 1967: 441-451.

Bentivoglio, A. A. 1988. Investigations into the growth, maturity, mortality rates and occurrence of the dolphin (Coryphaena hippurus, Linnaeus) in the Gulf of Mexico. University College of North Wales.

Castro, J.J., Santiago, J. A., Hernández-García, V. and Pla, C. 1999. Growth and reproduction of the dolphinfish (Coryphaena equiselis and Coryphaena hippurus) in the Canary Islands, Central-East Atlantic (preliminary results). Scientific Marine 63(3-4): 317-325.

Collette, B.B., Gibbs, R.H.Jr., and Clipper, G.E. 1969. Vertebral numbers and identification of the two species of dolphin (Coryphaena). Copeia 1969: 630-631.

CRFM. 2006. Report of the Second Annual Scientific Meeting - Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 13-22 March 2006. CRFM Fishery Report 2006. Vol. 1.

Ditty, J.G. 2005. Coryphaenidae: dolphinfishes. In: W.J. Richards (ed.), Early stages of Atlantic fishes: an identification guide for the western central North Atlantic, CRC Press.

Duarte-Neto, P. Lessa R., Stosic, B. Morize, E. 2008. The use of sagittal otoliths in discriminating stocks of common dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) off northeastern Brazil using multishape descriptors. Journal of Marine Science ICES 65(1144-1152).

FAO. 2009. FishStat Plus Version 2.32. Universal Software for Fishery Statistics Time Series. Available at:

Gibbs, R.H., Jr. and Collette, B.B. 1959. On the identification, distribution, and biology of the dolphins, Coryphaena hippurus and C. equiselis. Bulletin of Marine Science 9(2): 117-152.

Hassler, W.W. and Hogarth, W.T. 1977. The growth and culture of dolphin, Coryphaena hippurus, in North Carolina. Aquaculture 12: 115-122.

IATTC. 2008. The Fishery for Tunas and Billfishes in the Eastern Pacific Ocean in 2007. In: IATTC Document IATTC-78-05 (ed.), IATTC 78th Meeting 23-27 June 2008. Panama.

IGFA. 2014. World Record Game Fishes. International Game Fish Association, Dania Beach, Florida.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.2). Available at: (Accessed: 10 November 2011).

Lasso, J and Zapata, L. 1999. Fisheries and biology of Coryphaena hippurus (Pisces: Coryphaenidae) in the Pacific coast of Colombia and Panama. Science Marine 63(3-4): 387-399.

Lessa, R.P., Santana, F.M., Nogueira, G.D. 2008. Espécie: Coryphaena hippurus.. In: R.P Lessa, J.L. Bezerra, M.F. Nobrega. (ed.), Dinâmica de populações e avaliação dos estoques dos recursos pesqueiros da Região Nordeste., pp. 27-38. UFRPE. Relatório REVIZEE/SCORE-NE.

Lessa, R., Santana, F., Nogueira, G. 2009. Coryphaena hippurus. In: Lessa, R., Nobrega, F.M., Bezerra Jr., J.L. (ed.), Dinâmica de populações e avaliação dos estoques dos recursos pesqueiros da região nordeste., pp. 35-48. Programa REVIZEE, Score Nordeste.

Massutí, E., Deudero, S., Sánchez, P. and Morales-Nin, B. 1998. Diet and feeding of dolphin (Coryphaena hippurus) in western Mediterranean waters. Bulletin of Marine Science 63(2): 329-341.

Murray, P.A. 1985. Growth and mortality in the dolphinfish Coryphaena hippurus caught off Saint Lucia, W.I. In: WECAF (ed.).

Oxenford, H.A. 1999. Biology of the dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) in the western central Atlantic: a review.: Sci. Mar. 63(3/4):277-301.

Oxenford, H.A. and Hunte, W. 1983. Age and growth of dolphin, Coryphaena hippurus, as determined by growth rings in otoliths. Fisheries Bulletin 81: 906-909.

Oxenford, H.A. and Hunte, W. 1986. A preliminary investigation of the stock of the dolphin, Coryphaena hippurus, in the western central Atlantic. Fisheries Bulletin 84(2): 451-459.

Oxenford, H.A. and Hunte, W. 1999. Feeding habits of the dolphinfish (>Coryphaena hippurus in the eastern Caribbean. Scientific Marine 63(3-4): 303-315.

Palko, B.J., Beardsley, G.L. and Richards, W.J. 1982. Synopsis of the biological data on dolphin-fishes, Coryphaena hippurus Linnaeus and Coryphaena equiselis Linnaeus. NOAA Tech. Rep. NMFS Circ. 443..

Patterson, K.R. and Martinez, J. 1991. Exploitation of the dolphin-fish Coryphaena hippurus L. off Ecuador: Analysis by length-based virtual population analysis. Fishbyte 9(2): 21-23.

Perez, R.N. and Sadovy, Y. 1991. Preliminary data on landings records and reproductive biology of Coryphaena hippurus L. in Puerto Rico. Proceedings of the Gulf of the Caribbean Fisheries Institute.

Potoschi, A., O. Reñones and L. Cannizzaro. 1999. Sexual development, maturity and reproduction of dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) in the western and central Mediterranean.: Sci. Mar. 63(3-4):367-372.

Rivera, G.A. and Appeldoorn, R.S. 2000. Age and growth of dolphinfish, Coryphaena hippurus, off Puerto Rico. Fisheries Bulletin 98: 345-352.

Rocha-Olivares, A. and Chavez-Gonzalez, J.P. 2008. Molecular identification of dolphinfish species (genus Coryphaena) using multiplex haplotype-specific PCR of mitochondrial DNA. Ichthyol Res. 455: 389-393.

Rodrigues-Ferrer, G., Rodrigues-Ferrer, Y., Matos-Caraballo, D., and Lilyestrom, C. 2006. Comparison of dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) commercial and recreational fisheries in Puerto Rico during 2000-2003. Proceedings of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute 57: 297-316.

Rose, C.D. and Hassler, W.W. 1968. Age and growth of the dolphin Coryphaena hippurus (Linnaeus) in North Carolina waters. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 98(1): 94-103.

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Schwenke, K.L. and Buckel, J.A. 2008. Age, growth, and reproduction of dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) caught off the coast of North Carolina. Fish. Bull. 106: 82-92.

Uchiyama, J.H., Burch, R.K. and Kraul, Jr, S.A. 1986. Growth of dolphins, Coryphaena hippurus and C. equiselis in Hawaiian waters as determined by daily increments on otoliths. Fisheries Bulletin 84(1): 186-191.

Citation: Collette, B., Acero, A., Amorim, A.F., Boustany, A., Canales Ramirez, C., Cardenas, G., Carpenter, K.E., de Oliveira Leite Jr., N., Di Natale, A., Fox, W., Fredou, F.L., Graves, J., Viera Hazin, F.H., Juan Jorda, M., Minte Vera, C., Miyabe, N., Montano Cruz, R., Nelson, R., Oxenford, H., Schaefer, K., Serra, R., Sun, C., Teixeira Lessa, R.P., Pires Ferreira Travassos, P.E., Uozumi, Y. & Yanez, E. 2011. Coryphaena hippurus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T154712A4614989. . Downloaded on 23 July 2018.
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