Common dolphinfish Coryphaena hippurus

  • Open Ocean
  • Fish
  • Dolphinfish


The common dolphinfish is also known as the Dorado or Mahi Mahi. It has a large forehead where muscles extending throughout the whole body are attached. There is a single dorsal fin that extends across its body length. The anal fin starts around the middle and converges at the same point as the dorsal fin. Its pelvic fins are under the pectoral fins; and its caudal fin is strongly forked. The mouth has small teeth and a small tooth patch can be found on the tongue as well.  Adults are of a metallic blue-green colour dorsally and bright blue, green and yellow gradients are seen across the sides. Juveniles are fast growing, have black pelvic fins and unpigmented caudal lobes. Maximum recorded size of the common dolphinfish is 200cm. Males are bigger in size than the females and also develop a bony ridge at the front of the head. It is locally abundant and fast growing. Sexual maturity is attained by 4 months.

Habitat and ecology

The common dolphinfish is found across tropical and temperate waters, occurring mostly between 21 – 30 degrees Celsius. It lives in the open ocean but can also be found in close proximity to coasts very often. It is highly migratory, and consumes small fish, zooplankton, crustaceans and squid. It is also preyed upon by larger predators such as billfishes, porpoises and sharks amongst others.

Spawning occurs throughout the year in water temperatures exceeding 21 degrees Celsius in open water. Batch spawning occurs two to three times a year.


Conservation and management

Coryphaena hippurus is locally abundant and of ‘Least Concern’ according to the IUCN Red list. It is commonly exploited commercially and for sport fishing all across its global range. Besides its high commercial value that can lead to over collecting, there are no other major threats known to this species. Fishing methods include longlines, purse seine vessels and recreational fishing vessels, trolling line and various fish attracting devices, FADs.


Did you know?

Although referred to as Dolphinfish, the Coryphaena hippurus is not related to the dolphin family and is not a marine mammal.