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mackerel

mackerel, common name for members of the family Scombridae, open-sea fishes including the albacore, bonito, and tuna. They are characterized by deeply forked tails that narrow greatly where they join the body; small finlets behind both the dorsal and the anal fins; and sleek, streamlined bodies with smooth, almost scaleless skins having an iridescent sheen. All members of the mackerel family are superb, swift swimmers. The firm, oily texture of their powerful muscles and their generally large size make them of great commercial importance as food fish. They travel in schools, feeding on other fish (chiefly herring) and on squid, and migrate between deep and shallow waters. The smaller species rely on the constant rush of water through their gills for sufficient oxygen and will suffocate if motionless. The largest of the family, the enormous (up to 3/4 ton/680 kg) tunas, are among the few warm-blooded fishes, due to the constant operation of their huge banks of muscles. Of the smaller members of the family, the Atlantic, or common, mackerel, Scomber scombrus, found in colder waters off North America and Europe, is one of the smallest (11/2 lb/0.675 kg average). Despite its size, the annual catch is 1 million tons, which is marketed fresh, salted, and canned. Intermediate between the Atlantic mackerel and the bonitos (see tuna) are the frigate mackerels, or frigate tunas, found in warm seas. Spotted species found off the Florida and Gulf coasts include the Spanish, painted (or cero), and Serra mackerels, averaging 10 to 15 lb (4.5–6.7 kg). Other species are the king mackerel, also called kingfish (up to 60 lb/27 kg); the chub mackerel, similar to the Atlantic mackerel; and the cosmopolitan and more solitary wahoo, or peto. The snake mackerels, including the escolars and oilfish (some species of which are sometimes marketed as white tuna or codfish), belong to the family Gempylidae. Mackerels and snake mackerels are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Perciformes, families Scombridae and Gempylidae, respectively.

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mackerel

mackerel mackerel sky a sky dappled with rows of small white fleecy (typically cirrocumulus) clouds, like the pattern on a mackerel's back, recorded from the mid 17th century. It is traditionally believed to herald a change in the weather, as noted in the weather rhyme: ‘Mackerel sky, mackerel sky, Never long wet, never long dry.’

See also a sprat to catch a mackerel.

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mackerel

mack·er·el / ˈmak(ə)rəl/ • n. (pl. same or mackerels ) a migratory surface-dwelling predatory fish. The mackerel family (Scombridae) includes many species, in particular the North Atlantic mackerel (S. scombrus), commercially important as a food fish.

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mackerel

mackerel Fast-swimming, agile, marine food fish related to the tunny, found in n Atlantic, n Pacific and Indian oceans. They have streamlined bodies and powerful tails. The body colour is silvery blue with dark side bars. It feeds on smaller fish and plankton. Length: 61cm (2ft). Family Scombridae.

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mackerel

mackerel An oily fish, Scomber scombrus. A 150‐g portion is a rich source of protein, vitamins D, B2, B6, B12, niacin, copper, iodine, and selenium; a source of vitamin B1 and iron; contains 24 g of fat, of which 20% is saturated; supplies 330 kcal (1390 kJ).

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mackerel

mackerel XIII. — AN. makerel, OF. maquerel (mod. maquereau), medL. macarellus; of unkn. orig. See -REL.

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mackerel

mackerel See SCOMBRIDAE.

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mackerel

mackerelapparel, barrel, carol, Carole, carrel, Carroll, Darrell, Darryl, Farrell •gambrel • spandrel •astral, plastral •cracker-barrel •Errol, feral •petrel, petrol •spectral •central, epicentral, ventral •ancestral, kestrel, orchestral •dextral • Sacheverell • mayoral •sacral • wastrel • cerebral •anhedral, cathedral, dihedral, tetrahedral •hypaethral (US hypethral), urethral •squirrel, Tyrol, Wirral •timbrel, whimbrel •minstrel • arbitral • sinistral • integral •triumviral •spiral, viral •amoral, Balmoral, coral, immoral, laurel, moral, quarrel, sorel, sorrel •cockerel, Cockerell •dotterel • rostral •aboral, aural, choral, floral, goral, oral •austral, claustral •scoundrel • cloistral • neutral • figural •augural •demurral, Durrell •mongrel • sepulchral • lustral •spheral • retiral •crural, jural, mural, neural, plural, rural •illiberal, liberal •natural • federal • peripheral •doggerel • mackerel • pickerel •bicameral, unicameral •admiral •ephemeral, femoral •humeral, numeral •general • mineral • funeral •spatio-temporal, temporal •corporal • tesseral • visceral •bilateral, collateral, equilateral, lateral, multilateral, quadrilateral, trilateral, unilateral •pastoral •electoral, pectoral, prefectoral, protectoral •clitoral, literal, littoral, presbyteral •dipteral, peripteral •doctoral • several • behavioural •conferral, deferral, referral, transferral

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