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Topic: Differentiating Blue & Black (and striped) Marlins  (Read 3511 times)

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Offline John F

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Differentiating Blue & Black (and striped) Marlins
« on: April 28, 2011, 12:25:32 am »
After following with interest the thread on estimating billfish weight (http://www.ultimateangling.co.za/index.php/topic,4806.0.html), I thought it would be interesting if we could gather the collective knowledge of the several more experienced guys here to build a quick guide to ID black, blue [and striped] marlins...

Now... being a library rat as I am, I went digging for as much info as possible from several sources (books, papers, mag articles, etc), and compiled the table below...

Would appreciate the input/criticism of the more experienced, to improve the table with quick, obvious and easy features to look out (especially for us novice billfishers), in order to properly ID them...

I left out several behavioral differences that can be confusing and hard to assess objectively, such as:
- "Blues are more oceanic";
- "Blues tend to fight deeper";
- "Blacks tend to be slower, sturdier fighters", etc...

Thanks!

PS: The taxonomy follows Collette et al. (2006) as this is the most updated nomenclature of billfishes.

Collette, B. B., J. R. McDowell & J. E. Graves (2006). Phylogeny of recent billfishes (Xiphioidei). Bulletin of Marine Science, 79: 455-468.


 :billf:   

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Offline REEFMAN

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Re: Differentiating Blue & Black Marlins
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2011, 07:44:06 am »
Nice post JohnF.

The biggest difference that I was taught was that the Blue has a flexible Pec fin, which can be folded flat against the body. The Black's Pec fin is rigid and projects perpendicular to the body, and cannot be folded flat.... but that means you have to be able to touch the pec fin in order to really distinguish....

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Offline WalkersKiller

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Re: Differentiating Blue & Black Marlins
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2011, 08:01:01 am »
Very nice post Marcos, as I am not an offshore angler I was always troubled with the id of these 2 species...  :tkx:

Offline shagnrelease

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Re: Differentiating Blue & Black Marlins
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2011, 09:05:13 am »
Nice one Marcos, thank you! I think you have most things covered here mate, yip most of the time it relatively straight forward but as you have seen, some fish just through everything out!

Offline shagnrelease

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Re: Differentiating Blue & Black Marlins
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2011, 11:48:14 am »
Here is an intersesting document I came across, the more i look at this one the more I am convinced that other one is definately a black what say you Marcos??


okay the file is to big to post here, check out the link.

http://www.wcpfc.int/doc/ft-ip-6/photographic-identification-guide-billfish-sharks-rays-tuna-and-non-tuna-finfish-taken-w

Offline John F

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Re: Differentiating Blue & Black Marlins
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2011, 12:28:26 pm »
I'm with you Greg... I also think your 180 Kg billfish is a black marlin... 

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Offline Prego

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Re: Differentiating Blue & Black Marlins
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2011, 02:41:19 pm »
 :tkx: for clearing that up......great info.

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Re: Differentiating Blue & Black Marlins
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2011, 03:48:10 pm »
Ace!!! Nice post! :corrct:

Offline Capt. Hook

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Re: Differentiating Blue & Black Marlins
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2011, 05:16:07 pm »
Nice one John, could you now do the difficult one between a Blue & a Stripey which often causes confusion in our waters.

Another thing to note between Blues & Blacks is that the Blacks like to come close in shore, where as the Blues prefer it out deeper.
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Offline jaenswart

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Re: Differentiating Blue & Black Marlins
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2011, 05:33:19 pm »
yes please. I pointed to Big Van the other day while watching their Myn manne dvd that I thought one of the blue marlin they caught were in fact a stripey. I didn't have time to review as the remote's batteries were dead.
Very difficult between small blue and stripey if their lights are not ON.

When the lights are ON there is absolutely no mistaking a stripey. The number 1 identifying aspect of a stripey is a dorsal fin longer than the deepest part of it's body
« Last Edit: May 03, 2011, 05:35:55 pm by jaenswart »

Offline Capt. Hook

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Re: Differentiating Blue & Black Marlins
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2011, 05:47:27 pm »
yes please. I pointed to Big Van the other day while watching their Myn manne dvd that I thought one of the blue marlin they caught were in fact a stripey. I didn't have time to review as the remote's batteries were dead.
Very difficult between small blue and stripey if their lights are not ON.

When the lights are ON there is absolutely no mistaking a stripey. The number 1 identifying aspect of a stripey is a dorsal fin longer than the deepest part of it's body

Agreed on the "Lights", I also know that a Blue's Dorsal fin is 1/2-2/3 Body depth whereas a Stripey is almost always 1/2, a Blue is also a little more chunky.
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Offline Capt. Hook

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Re: Differentiating Blue & Black Marlins
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2011, 05:56:07 pm »
Here are some pics from the net showing Stripeys with their lights on.
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Offline cyclone 123

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Re: Differentiating Blue & Black Marlins
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2011, 06:31:01 pm »
Nice info!!

Offline John F

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Re: Differentiating Blue & Black Marlins
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2011, 10:33:28 pm »
Nice one John, could you now do the difficult one between a Blue & a Stripey which often causes confusion in our waters.


I have updated the table and included features for the striped marlin... when compared to blues, apart from being on the smaller side and the "lights on" issue already mentioned, I would highlight the size, shape and thickness (or fragility) of the dorsal fin, the lateral line system, the fairly elevated forehead and the "thinner" shoulders...

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Offline Capt. Hook

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Re: Differentiating Blue & Black (and striped) Marlins
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2011, 10:35:14 pm »
Excellent...
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Offline E.T.

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Re: Differentiating Blue & Black (and striped) Marlins
« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2011, 10:47:56 pm »
Wow!!!! Awesome stuff here. Who needs Discovery any way.
 :tkx: For Sharing (clap) :resp:

Offline shagnrelease

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Re: Differentiating Blue & Black (and striped) Marlins
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2011, 08:07:08 pm »
Hey Guys
I thought you may want to add this to the thread, it was sent to me by legendary Capt Roddy Hays who has caught more grander blues than most of us have had hot dinners!!
 
its interesting as there is yet another tool to assist in the ID between blue and Blacks.
What this shows is the perpendicular margin (first round line) on the operculum (gill plate) betwee the two species with the Blues being very curved where as on the Blacks there is generally a kink.
Black Marlin

Blue Marlin


Offline John F

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Re: Differentiating Blue & Black (and striped) Marlins
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2011, 08:43:45 pm »
Thanks shag!

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Offline Seventenths

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Re: Differentiating Blue & Black (and striped) Marlins
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2012, 09:03:27 am »
Stripped Marlin with no "Lights" note the dorsal fin size and distinct 1st gill plate, the neon blue often remains on the dorsal long after light are out - see pic. The 1st pectoral fins will lay flat with very little force, but tends to stands up on it's own if you leave it.

7/10..

« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 06:13:14 pm by Seventenths »