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Escolar Ruvettus pretiosus Cocco 1829


[Jordan and Evermann, 1896-1900, p. 879.]

Escolar (Ruvettus pretiosus)

Figure 185.—Escolar (Ruvettus pretiosus), Georges Bank. From Goode and Bean. Drawing by J. C. van Hook.


This fish suggests the mackerel family in its slender fusiform shape and in the general arrangement of its fins. And its first (spiny) dorsal (13 to 15 spines), like that of the Spanish mackerel, is much longer than the second dorsal (18 soft rays). But it is separable at a glance from all Gulf of Maine mackerels by the facts that it has only 2 dorsal finlets and 2 anal finlets, and that its skin is set with bony plates armed with short spines instead of being velvety with small scales, as it is in the case of the mackerel tribe. The caudal fin is deeply forked. The first dorsal is much lower than the second, and the anal is situated below the second dorsal, which it parallels in its outlines.


Described as purplish brown, darkest above, with blackish patches, and with the inside of the mouth dusky.

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The escolar grows to a weight of at least 100 pounds.

General range—

Tropical parts of the Atlantic, and the Mediterranean, in moderately deep water (usually 100 to 400 fathoms); also widespread in warm latitudes in the North Pacific[45] and in East Indian waters. It is plentiful around Cuba though not reported from Puerto Rico; is known from Bermuda; and it has been taken as a stray as far north as the Bay of Biscay in the east and to the Grand Banks of Newfoundland in the west.

There are regular fisheries for it off Cuba and about the Canaries; also in the Pacific.[45]

Occurrence in the Gulf of Maine—

Two escolars, respectively, 49 inches long and 6 feet long, were brought in to the United States Fish Commission from Georges Bank during the autumn of 1891.[46] It has not been seen in the Gulf of Maine region since then. The nearest record of it to the southward, with which we are acquainted, is of two trawled about 92 miles off Cape May, N. J., in January 1950.[47]

[45] Gudger (American Naturalist, vol. 62, 1928, p. 467) and Nordhoff (Natural History, vol. 28, 1928, p. 40) give accounts of the geographic distribution of the escolar, and of the fisheries for it in tropical waters.

[46] Approximate location 41° 40' N., 67° 44' W. See Goode and Bean, Smithsonian Contrib. Knowl., vol. 30, 1895, p. 197.

[47] LaMonte, Marine Life, vol. 1, No. 8, 1950, p. 40.