Mackerel, King (Kingfish)
The king mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla) is a migratory species of mackerel of the western Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, important to both commercial and recreational fishing industries. The entire body is covered with very small, hardly visible, loosely attached scales and coloration ranges from olive to an iridescent bluish green on its back fading to silver with a rosy iridescence on the sides, and white on the belly. The first spiny dorsal fin is entirely colorless and is normally folded back into a body groove, as are the pelvic fins. The lateral line starts high on the shoulder, dips abruptly at mid-body and then continues as a wavy horizontal line to the tail. It is similar to the Spanish mackerel.
King mackerel are voracious, opportunistic carnivores. Their prey depends on their size. Depending on area and season, they favor menhaden and other sardine-like fish, jacks, weakfish, anchovies, minnows, threadfin, northern mackerel and squid. King mackerel may attain 90 lbs, but any over 15 lbs is almost certainly a female.
King mackerel commonly occur in depths of 40 to 150 feet. Larger kings (heavier than 20 lbs) often occur inshore, in the mouths of inlets and harbors, occasionally found as deep as 600 feet.
The king mackerel is a subtropical species of the Atlantic Coast of the Americas. Common in the coastal zone from North Carolina to Brazil, it occurs as far south as Rio de Janeiro, and occasionally as far north as the Gulf of Maine.