Confusing Fish Names – What, Where, and Why

Studying Time: 6 minutes

Fish names are robust, particularly in the event you’re touring. Order a Rockfish in Boston, and also you’ll get Striped Bass – do the identical in San Francisco, and also you’ll get Rock Cod. That can assist you keep away from the unsuitable finish of a “man walks right into a restaurant” joke, we’ve made a fast information to among the most complicated fish names. Learn on!

You referred to as me whaaat?

Jokes apart, why is that this essential? Let’s say you’re searching for fish. You decide up some Rockfish fillets, and also you cook dinner them precisely because the recipe stated. Solely, this fish appears to be like nothing such as you anticipated. By now, you’re most likely considering what a awful cook dinner you might be. However what if I informed you that the FDA permits promoting as many as 60 fish species underneath the title “Rockfish”?

Identical goes for Sea Bass, Grouper, Snapper… you see the issue.

Messing up your dinner isn’t the one motive, although. Quite a lot of leisure anglers mistake the fish they catch for an additional species. Should you’re fishing an space you’re not aware of, catching over your restrict may get you in bother with the authorities.

On to the fish. A lot of the species we’re about to say share a standard title with no less than one different fish. Then again, sure elements of the world have a couple of title for a single species.


Tuna are very talked-about recreation fish in addition to wonderful desk fare. They’re extremely migratory, which implies that you will discover the identical species of Tuna in two fully completely different elements of the world. One of the best identified Tuna species are:

  • Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares)
  • Albacore Tuna (Thunnus alalunga)
  • Bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus)
  • Blackfin Tuna (Thunnus atlanticus)
  • Skipjack Tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis)

After which there’s the Bluefin Tuna group, consisting of 4 distinct species:

  • Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus)
  • Pacific Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus orientalis)
  • Southern Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus maccoyii)
  • Longtail Tuna (Thunnus tonggol)

That’s a number of Tuna. Wait till you hear what individuals really name them.

The Names

Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares) have various completely different names, relying on who you ask. In Mexico, Yellowfins go by the title of Rabil. In Portugal, Brazil, and Sweden, nonetheless, they name them Albacora. Sounds quite a bit like Albacore Tuna, proper? Sure, solely, that’s a very completely different fish.

Talking of Albacore, do you know that Canadians and South Africans typically name them Longfin Tuna? And no, that’s not the identical as Longtail Tuna – that’s a sort of Bluefin. In Hawaii, Albacores go by the title of Tombo Ahi. The Italians, in the meantime, caught to their Latin roots and went with Alalunga.

Being well-known across the globe will earn you a nickname or two. Simply ask Bluefin Tuna. In Spain, for instance, Atlantic Bluefins are sometimes referred to as Atún Rojo (Pink Tuna).

These guys are identified for his or her ocean-wide migrations. They’re additionally premium desk fare in high-end eating places all over the world.

Longtail Tuna, who traverse the waters off Australia’s northern coast, are sometimes referred to as Northern Bluefin Tuna. This made it simpler to distinguish the fish from its greater cousin, the Southern Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus maccoyii). The one bother is, individuals began complicated Northern Bluefin Tuna with Pacific Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus orientalis).


Barracuda are distributed throughout the globe. Nevertheless, what most individuals don’t know is that there are a number of species of Barracuda. The three commonest ones are:

  1. Pacific Barracuda (Sphyraena argentea)
  2. Nice Barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda)
  3. Australian Barracuda (Sphyraena novaehollandiae).

The Names

You could find Pacific Barracuda primarily off the coasts of California and Mexico. Whereas they’re most plentiful in these heat waters, you will discover them so far as Level Conception to the north, and Baja California Sur to the south. Folks typically name them Barracuda, or Cuda.

Nice Barracuda are extra unfold out, inhabiting the subtropical waters of the western Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans. Within the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, Nice Barracuda are sometimes referred to as Picuda or simply Barracuda.

Nice Barracuda are a superb instance of how an improper title may cause confusion. In sure elements of the world, Cudas are referred to as Snoek, which is a very completely different species – a sort of Snake Mackerel.

Lastly, Australian Barracuda are native to southern Australia and northern New Zealand. Aussies typically name these guys Snook. Needless to say it’s not the identical Snook you’ll discover within the Caribbean or within the US. One different title for Australian Barracuda takes the crown although, and that’s Shortfin Seaspike.


Mackerel are probably the most wide-spread, hottest, and most misrepresented fish households on the planet. The most typical Mackerel are:

  • King Mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla)
  • Slim-Barred Spanish Mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson)
  • Spanish Mackerel (Scomber maculatus)
  • Atlantic Mackerel (Scomber scombrus)
  • Cero Mackerel (Scomberomorus regalis)
  • Pacific Jack Mackerel (Trachurus symmetricus)

The Names

King Mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla) are widespread throughout the western Atlantic, from Maine all the way in which to Rio de Janeiro. In most English-speaking international locations, they’re sometimes called Kingfish. In Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa nonetheless, the title Kingfish is a reputation for Yellowtail Amberjack.

Slim-Barred Spanish Mackerel are native to the Indo-Pacific Ocean, and are a well-liked recreation fish in north-western Australia. After all, you may’t blame the Aussies for not eager to pronounce this tongue-twisting title. They simply went with Spanish Mackerel. Too unhealthy that title was already taken.

Fortunately, Spanish Mackerel and its narrow-barred cousin reside too distant to trigger any main confusion. Spanish Mackerel inhabit the waters of the western Atlantic, from Cape Cod within the north to Florida and the Mexican Gulf within the south. Just a few different names embody Spaniard and Sierra.

It’s essential to notice that in the event you see the same fish south of the Gulf, that’s not a Spaniard, it’s a Cero Mackerel. That’s to not say you can’t discover a Cero within the Gulf and even up the Gulf Stream. Ceros are plentiful across the Florida Keys, in addition to the Caribbean. That is the place many of the overlap with Spanish Mackerel happens.

So how do you inform the 2 aside? Spanish Mackerel have a number of rows of bronze spots, with a downward-oriented lateral line. Ceros, then again, have a definite bronze stripe stretching from their pectoral fins to their tails. Ceros too, have bronze spots, however not like Spanish Mackerel, theirs are oval.


Salmon is arguably essentially the most important recreation fish in human historical past. Praised for its meat, revered for its preventing capabilities, Salmon looks as if the proper fish. Solely, there are no less than 10 species of this fish, and most of the people simply check with them by the identical title.

To muddy the waters even additional, Salmon have been artificially launched throughout the Americas – and past. These are essentially the most important species of Salmon:

  • Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar)
  • Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)
  • Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch)
  • Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)
  • Pink Salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha)
  • Chum Salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)
  • Australian Salmon (Arripis trutta)
  • Threadfin Salmon (Polydactylus macrochir)

The Names

Chinook Salmon, native to the US and Canadian west coast, are the biggest of all of the Salmon species. Though native to western waters, Chinook have been launched to various lakes throughout North America, together with Lake Tahoe and the Nice Lakes.

Chinook’s dimension, meals worth, and preventing spirit earned it the nickname King Salmon. By now, you’re most likely considering “Simply what I wanted, one other Kingfish.” However that’s not even the one Salmon King – There’s additionally King Threadfin (Threadfin Salmon, native to Australia).

Fortunately, no waters appear to be sufficiently big for 2 kings, so that you received’t be complicated them, no less than in the event you’re fishing.

Coho Salmon can be globally generally known as Silver Salmon. Equally, Chum Salmon’s nickname is Canine Salmon, and Pink Salmon goes by Humpback Salmon. After which there’s Sockeye, who’s broadly known as Pink Salmon.

Lastly, when individuals say Salmon in South Africa, they imply Cape Salmon, in any other case generally known as Geelbek. In Australia and New Zealand, Salmon means Australian Salmon, aka Kahawai.

Scratching the Floor

That covers among the most complicated fish names you’ll see.

However in the event you assume that these are all of the complicated fish names, assume once more. There are numerous extra fish sharing the identical title, and simply as many alternative names for a similar species. Simply check out Flatfish, and also you’ll know what we’re speaking about.

Nonetheless, this information will hopefully make fish names rather less complicated.

What are some fish names you discover complicated? Did you ever catch or purchase a fish whose title you already heard some place else? Tell us within the feedback beneath.

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