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A mackerel is any one of a number of different species of fish, mostly in the family Scombridae. They occur in all tropical and temperate seas. Most live offshore in the oceanic environment but a few, like the Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus) enter bays and can be caught near bridges and piers. The largest mackerel is the king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla) which can grow to 66 inches (168 cm). They are easily identified by having a slim, cylindrical shape (as opposed to the tunas which are deeper bodied) and numerous finlets on the dorsal and ventral sides behind the dorsal and anal fins. The scales are extremely small, if present. They are prized for their meat and fighting ability, and are an important recreational and commercial fishery. In the tropics, the meat can spoil quickly, causing scombroid food poisoning.

Mackerel species:

The snake mackerels are a separate family Gempylidae.

Species called just "mackerel" in various countries:

"Mackerel" is also used as an adjective in the vernacular names of other types of fish, often used to indicate types with a mackerel-like pattern of vertical stripes: