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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 13:20 EDT

Mahi-mahi

The Mahi-mahi, Coryphaena hippurus, also known as Dolphin-fish, Dolphin, and Dorado are surface-dwelling ray-finned fish found in off-shore tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. They are one of only two members of the Coryphaenidae family, the other being the Pompano dolphin-fish. The name “mahi-mahi” (“strong-strong” in Hawaiian), particularly on restaurant menus, has been adopted in recent years to avoid confusing these fish with dolphins, which are mammals. They are also commonly known as Maverikos.

Mahi-mahi have a lifespan of no more than three to four years. Sport catches average 15 to 28 lb (7 to 13 kg). They seldom exceed 33 lb (15 kg), and any Mahi-mahi over 39 lb (18 kg) is exceptional. Mahi-mahi have compressed bodies and long dorsal fins extending almost the entire length of their bodies. Their anal fins are sharply concave. They are distinguished by dazzling colors: golden on the sides, bright blues and greens on the sides and back. Mature males also have prominent foreheads protruding well above the body proper. When they are removed from the water, the fish often change between several colors, finally fading to a muted yellow-grey upon death.

Mahi-mahi are carnivorous, feeding on flying fish, crabs, squid, mackerel, and other small fish. They have also been known to eat zooplankton and crustaceans.

Mahi-mahi are highly sought game fish throughout their range because of their beauty and fighting ability. Their flesh is notable for its flavor and firm texture. Mahi-mahi have become popular restaurant fare in many areas, sometimes eaten as a substitute for swordfish because, having scales, they are considered kosher, as well as halal by Shia and Sunni Muslims.

Costa Rica, Ecuador, Japan, and the United States are the primary countries capturing and exporting Mahi-mahi (30,000 to 40,000 tons are harvested annually worldwide), and Europe, Japan, the United States, and the Caribbean region are the primary consumers.

One of the fastest-growing fish, Mahi-mahi are fast swimmers as well, with a top swimming speed of 50 knots. Mahi-mahi spawn in warm ocean currents throughout much of the year; and their young are commonly found in sargassum weed.

Mahi-mahi