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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Superclassis/Classis: Actinopterygii
Classis/Subclassis: Actinopteri
Subclassis/Infraclassis: Neopterygii
Infraclassis: Teleostei
Megacohors: Osteoglossocephalai
Supercohors: Clupeocephala
Cohors: Euteleosteomorpha
Subcohors: Neoteleostei
Infracohors: Eurypterygia
Sectio: Ctenosquamata
Subsectio: Acanthomorphata
Divisio/Superordo: Acanthopterygii
Subdivisio: Percomorphaceae
Series: Pelagiaria
Ordo: Scombriformes

Familia: Scombridae
Subfamilia: Scombrinae
Genus: Thunnus
Subgenera: Neothunnus - Thunnus

Thunnus South, 1845

Type species: Scomber thynnus Linnaeus, 1758

Díaz-Arce, N., Arrizabalaga, H., Murua, H., Irigoien, X. & Rodríguez-Ezpeleta, N. 2016. RAD-seq derived genome-wide nuclear markers resolve the phylogeny of tunas. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, Available online 7 June 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2016.06.002 Reference page.
South, J.F. 1845. Thunnus. Pp. 620-622 in Smedley, E., Rose, H.J. & Rose, H.J. (eds): Encyclopaedia Metropolitana or Universal Dictionary of Knowledge. London 25. Reference page.


Thunnus and its species (including synonyms) in Catalog of Fishes, Eschmeyer, W.N., Fricke, R. & van der Laan, R. (eds.) 2022. Catalog of Fishes electronic version.
Thunnus species list in FishBase,
Froese, R. & Pauly, D. (eds.) 2022. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication,, version 08/2021.
Thunnus – Taxon details on Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).

Vernacular names
Afrikaans: Tuna
العربية: تونة
беларуская: Тунца (Tunca)
български: риба
bosanski: Tunjevina
čeština: Tuňák
dansk: Tunfisk
Deutsch: Thunfisch
dolnoserbski: Tunowa ryba
Ελληνικά: Τόννος (Tónnos)
English: True tunas
Esperanto: Tinuso
español: Atún
فارسی: ماهی تن‎ (mâhi-ye ton)
suomi: Tonnikala
français: Thon
Gaeilge: Tuinnín
עברית: טונה
hrvatski: Tuna
hornjoserbsce: Tunjak
Kreyòl ayisyen: Ton
magyar: Tonhal
Bahasa Indonesia: Tuna
Ido: Atuno
íslenska: Túnfiskur
italiano: Tonno
日本語: マグロ属
ქართული: თინუსი (tinusi)
한국어: 다랑어속
Ligure: Tónno
lietuvių: Paprastieji tunai
latviešu: Tuncis
Bahasa Melayu: Tuna
Nederlands: Tonijn
norsk: Tunfisk
português: Atum
Runa Simi: Atun challwa
română: Ton
русский: Тунцы
sicilianu: Tunnu
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Туњевина (Tunjevina)
slovenčina: Tuniak
slovenščina: Tun
shqip: Ton
српски / srpski: Туна
svenska: Tonfiskar
ไทย: ปลาทูน่า
Tagalog: Tulingan
Türkçe: Ton
українська: Тунець
Tiếng Việt: Cá ngừ đại dương
中文: 吞拿鱼

Thunnus is a genus of ocean-dwelling, ray-finned bony fish from the mackerel family, Scombridae. More specifically, Thunnus is one of five genera which make up the tribe Thunnini – a tribe that is collectively known as the tunas. Also called the true tunas or real tunas, Thunnus consists of eight species of tuna (more than half of the overall tribe), divided into two subgenera. The word Thunnus is the Middle Latin form of the Greek thýnnos (θύννος, "tuna, tunny") – which is in turn derived from thynō (θύνω, "to rush; to dart").[3][4] The first written use of the word was by Homer.[citation needed]

Their coloring, metallic blue on top and shimmering silver-white on the bottom, helps camouflage them from above and below. Atlantic bluefin tuna, the largest member of this genus, can grow to 15 feet (4.6 m) long and weigh up to 1,500 pounds (680 kg). All tunas are extremely strong swimmers, and the yellowfin tuna is known to reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) when pursuing prey. As with all tunas, members of this genus are warm-blooded, which is a rare trait among fish; this enables them to tolerate cold waters and to dive to deeper depths.[5] Bluefin tunas, for example, are found in Newfoundland and Iceland, and also in the tropical waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea, where some individuals go each year to spawn.

Due to overfishing, the range of this genus has declined significantly, having been effectively extirpated from the Black Sea, for example.[6]


Based on morphology and short-length mitochondrial DNA sequence data,[7] the genus Thunnus is currently classified into two subgenera: Thunnus (Thunnus) (the bluefin group), and Thunnus (Neothunnus) (the yellowfin group). However this classification has been questioned by a recent phylogenetic analysis of nuclear DNA sequence data, which resolved different relationships among species and did not support the traditional definition of the bluefin and yellowfin groups.[8][9] Specifically, these analyses substantiated the division of Pacific and Atlantic Tuna in two separate species and suggested that Bigeye Tuna were actually a member of subgenus Neothunnus, not subgenus Thunnus.[8] Earlier nuclear ribosomal DNA phylogenetic reconstructions also showed similar results.[10]
Fossil specimen

This genus has eight species in two subgenera:

Subgenus Thunnus (Thunnus):
Albacore, T. alalunga (Bonnaterre, 1788)
Southern bluefin tuna, T. maccoyii (Castelnau, 1872)
Bigeye tuna, T. obesus (Lowe, 1839)
Pacific bluefin tuna, T. orientalis (Temminck & Schlegel, 1844)
Atlantic bluefin tuna, T. thynnus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Subgenus Thunnus (Neothunnus):
Yellowfin tuna, T. albacares (Bonnaterre, 1788)
Blackfin tuna, T. atlanticus (Lesson, 1831)
Longtail tuna, T. tonggol (Bleeker, 1851)

Relative sizes of various tunas, with the Atlantic bluefin tuna (top) at about 8 ft (2.4 m) in this sample
The True Tunas of the genus Thunnus, within the Family Scombridae

The True Tunas of the genus Thunnus, within the Family Scombridae

 Butterfly kingfishes (1 genus)


 Mackerels (2 genera) Scomber scombrus.png


 Spanish Mackerels (3 genera) Scomberomorus cavalla.png


 Bonitos (4 genera) Sarda sarda.jpg


 Allothunnus, slender tunas

 Auxis, frigate tunas XRF-Auxis thazard.png

 Euthynnus, little tunas XRF-Euthynnus alletteratus.png

 Katsuwonus, skipjack tunas Katsuwonus pelamis.png

 subgenus Thunnus

 bluefin group Thunnus thynnus.png

 subgenus Neothunnus

 yellowfin group Thunnus albacares.png

 (true tunas) 
Cladogram: Thunnus (bottom-right in image above) is one of five genera that make up the Thunnini tribe.  Known as the true tunas, it comprises 8 of the 15 extant tuna species.[1]
Alternative evolutionary tree for Thunnus

T. albacares Thunnus albacares.png

T. obesus Thunnus obesus.png

T. tonggol

T. atlanticus Blackfin tuna, Duane Raver Jr.jpg

T. maccoyii

T. thynnus Thunnus thynnus.png

T. orientalis

T. alalunga Thunnus alalunga.png

An alternative phylogenetic reconstruction for the genus Thunnus, based on nuclear DNA sequence data, which modifies the traditionally recognized bluefin and yellowfin clades by placing Thunnus obesus within the yellowfin clade instead of in the bluefin clade.[8]


Until recently, seven Thunnus species were thought to exist, and Atlantic bluefin tuna and Pacific bluefin tuna were subspecies of a single species. In 1999, Collette established that based on both molecular and morphological considerations, they are, in fact, distinct species.[11][12]

Thunnus, the true tunas
Image Common name Scientific name Maximum
Source IUCN status
Thunnus (Thunnus) – the bluefin group
Thunnus alalunga Ford.jpg Albacore tuna T. alalunga
(Bonnaterre, 1788)
1.4 m
(4.6 ft)
1.0 m
(3.3 ft)
60.3 kg
(133 lb)
9–13 yrs 4.31 [13][14] LC IUCN 3 1.svg Least Concern[14]
Thmac u0.gif Southern bluefin tuna T. maccoyii
(Castelnau, 1872)
2.45 m
(8.0 ft)
1.6 m
(5.2 ft)
260 kg
(570 lb)
20–40 yrs 3.93 [15][16] EN IUCN 3 1.svg Endangered[16]
Thunnus obesus.png Bigeye tuna T. obesus
(Lowe, 1839)
2.5 m
(8.2 ft)
1.8 m
(5.9 ft)
210 kg
(460 lb)
5–16 yrs 4.49 [17][18] VU IUCN 3 1.svg Vulnerable[18]
Bluefin tuna.jpg Pacific bluefin tuna T. orientalis
(Temminck & Schlegel, 1844)
3.0 m
(9.8 ft)
2.0 m
(6.6 ft)
450 kg
(990 lb)
15–26 yrs 4.21 [19][20] NT IUCN 3 1.svg Near Threatened[20]
Bluefin-big.jpg Atlantic bluefin tuna T. thynnus
(Linnaeus, 1758)
4.6 m
(15 ft)
2.0 m
(6.6 ft)
684 kg
(1,508 lb)
35–50 yrs 4.43 [21][22] LC IUCN 3 1.svg Least Concern[22]
Thunnus (Neothunnus) – the yellowfin group
Blackfin tuna, Duane Raver Jr.jpg Blackfin tuna T. atlanticus
(Lesson, 1831)
1.1 m
(3.6 ft)
0.7 m
(2.3 ft)
22.4 kg
(49 lb)
4.13 [23] LC IUCN 3 1.svg Least concern[24]
Thunnus tonggol.jpg Longtail tuna,
northern bluefin tuna,
tongol tuna
T. tonggol
(Bleeker, 1851)
1.45 m
(4.8 ft)
0.7 m
(2.3 ft)
35.9 kg
(79 lb)
18 years 4.50 [25][26] DD IUCN 3 1.svg Data deficient[26]
Thunnus albacares.png Yellowfin tuna T. albacares
(Bonnaterre, 1788)
2.4 m
(7.9 ft)
1.5 m
(4.9 ft)
200 kg
(440 lb)
5–9 yrs 4.34 [27][28] LC IUCN 3 1.svg Least Concern[28]

Maximum reported sizes of Thunnus species.

The worldwide demand for sushi and sashimi, coupled with increasing population growth, has resulted in global stocks of the species being overfished[29] and bluefin is the most endangered and considered "a serious conservation concern".[30] Complicating the efforts for sustainable management of bluefin fish stocks within national exclusive economic zones (EEZ) is bluefin migrate long distances and hunt in the midocean that is not part of any country's EEZ, so have been vulnerable to overfishing by multiple countries' fishing fleets. International agreements and conventions are good-faith agreements and are difficult to monitor or enforce.[31] Though this fish has been farmed in captivity by the Japanese and by the Australians with the help of the Japanese,[32] yields are lower than other farmed fish due to the slow growth rate of bluefin tuna, therefore keeping prices high.[31] On December 30, 2012, a 222-kilogram (489 lb) bluefin tuna caught off northeastern Japan, was sold at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo for a record 155.4 million yen ($1.76 million) – a unit price of JP¥ 1.274 million/kg (US$3,600/lb).[33]

Graham, Jeffrey B.; Dickson, Kathryn A. (2004). "Tuna Comparative Physiology". The Journal of Experimental Biology. 207 (23): 4015–4024. doi:10.1242/jeb.01267. PMID 15498947.
Sepkoski, Jack (2002). "A compendium of fossil marine animal genera". Bulletins of American Paleontology. 364: 560. Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. Retrieved 2008-01-08.
θύννος in Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert (1940) A Greek–English Lexicon, revised and augmented throughout by Jones, Sir Henry Stuart, with the assistance of McKenzie, Roderick. Oxford: Clarendon Press. In the Perseus Digital Library, Tufts University.
θύνω in Liddell and Scott.
Bernal, Diego; Brill, Richard W.; Dickson, Kathryn A.; Shiels, Holly A. (2017-12-01). "Sharing the water column: physiological mechanisms underlying species-specific habitat use in tunas". Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries. 27 (4): 843–880. doi:10.1007/s11160-017-9497-7. ISSN 1573-5184. S2CID 20554689.
Hogan, C. Michael, Overfishing. Encyclopedia of Earth. eds. Sidney Draggan and Cutler Cleveland. National council for Science and the Environment, Washington DC
Alvarado Bremer, J.R.; Naseri, I.; Ely, B. (2016). "ROrthodox and unorthodox phylogenetic relationships among tunas revealed by the nucleotide sequence analysis of the mitochondrial DNA control region". Journal of Fish Biology. 50 (3): 540–554. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8649.1997.tb01948.x.
Díaz-Arce, Natalia; Arrizabalaga, Haritz; Murua, Hilario; Irigoien, Xabier; Rodríguez-Ezpelata, Naiara (2016). "RAD-seq derived genome-wide nuclear markers resolve the phylogeny of tunas". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 102: 202–207. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2016.06.002. hdl:10754/612968. PMID 27286653.
Ciezarek, Adam G.; Osborne, Owen G.; Shipley, Oliver N.; Brooks, Edward J.; Tracey, Sean R.; McAllister, Jaime D.; Gardner, Luke D.; Sternberg, Michael J. E.; Block, Barbara; Savolainen, Vincent (2019-01-01). "Phylotranscriptomic Insights into the Diversification of Endothermic Thunnus Tunas". Molecular Biology and Evolution. 36 (1): 84–96. doi:10.1093/molbev/msy198. ISSN 0737-4038. PMC 6340463. PMID 30364966.
Chow, S.; Nakagawa, T.; Suzuki, N.; Takeyama, H.; Matsunaga, T. (2006). "Phylogenetic relationships among Thunnus species inferred from rDNA ITS1 sequence". Journal of Fish Biology. 68 (A): 24–35. doi:10.1111/j.0022-1112.2006.00945.x.
Collette, B.B. (1999). "Mackerels, molecules, and morphology". In Séret, B.; Sire, J.Y. (eds.). Proceedings. 5th Indo-Pacific Fish Conference: Nouméa, New Caledonia, 3–8 November 1997. Paris: Société Française d'Ichtyologie [u.a.] pp. 149–164. ISBN 978-2-9507330-5-4.
Tanaka, Y.; Satoh, K.; Iwahashi, M.; Yamada, H. (2006). "Growth-dependent recruitment of Pacific bluefin tuna Thunnus orientalis in the northwestern Pacific Ocean" (PDF). Marine Ecology Progress Series. 319: 225–235. Bibcode:2006MEPS..319..225T. doi:10.3354/meps319225. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-12-11.
Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2012). "Thunnus alalunga" in FishBase. January 2012 version.
Collette, B.; et al. (2021). "Thunnus alalunga". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2021. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2012). "Thunnus maccoyii" in FishBase. January 2012 version.
Collette, B.; et al. (2021). "Thunnus maccoyii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2021. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2012). "Thunnus obesus" in FishBase. January 2012 version.
Collette, B.; et al. (2021). "Thunnus obesus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2021. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2012). "Thunnus orientalis" in FishBase. January 2012 version.
Collette, B.; et al. (2021). "Thunnus orientalis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2021. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2012). "Thunnus thynnus" in FishBase. January 2012 version.
Collette, B.; et al. (2021). "Thunnus thynnus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2021. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2012). "Thunnus atlanticus" in FishBase. January 2012 version.
Collette, B.; et al. (2010). "Thunnus atlanticus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2012). "Thunnus tonggol" in FishBase. January 2012 version.
Collette, B.; et al. (2009). "Thunnus tonggol". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2009. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2012). "Thunnus albacares" in FishBase. January 2012 version.
Collette, B.; et al. (2021). "Thunnus albacares". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2021. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
George Karleskint; Richard Turner; James Small (2009). Introduction to Marine Biology. Cengage Learning. p. 522. ISBN 978-0-495-56197-2.
"Tuna, Bluefin". Archived from the original on 2011-07-22.
"Managed to death". The Economist. 2008-10-30.
Thunnus orientalis#Farming

"A bluefin tuna sells for record $1.76M in Tokyo". USA Today. 4 January 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2013.

Further reading
Charles Clover. 2004. The End of the Line: How Overfishing Is Changing the World and What We Eat. Ebury Press, London. ISBN 0-09-189780-7
Newlands, Nathaniel K.; Molly E. Lutcavage; Tony J. Pitcher (2006). "Atlantic Bluefin Tuna in the Gulf of Maine, I: Estimation of Seasonal Abundance Accounting for Movement, School and School-Aggregation Behaviour". Environmental Biology of Fishes. 77 (2): 177–195. doi:10.1007/s10641-006-9069-5. ISSN 0378-1909. S2CID 12596873.

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