Dolphin Fish, colour. Coryphaena hipurus (Linnaeus)

11 Interesting Facts About Dolphin Fish

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The dolphin fish, also known as mahi-mahi or dorado, is a large, beautiful fish found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world. With their vibrant colors, high speeds, and tasty meat, dolphin fish captivate the imagination of anglers and non-anglers alike.

In this article, you’ll discover 11 fascinating facts about these amazing fish, including details on their:

  • Unique appearance and colors
  • Lightning-fast speeds
  • Reproduction and lifespan
  • Feeding habits
  • Relation to actual dolphins

So if you want to learn more about one of the ocean’s most spectacular creatures, read on!

Interesting Facts About Dolphin Fish

Fishing for Mahi-Mahi (Dorado, Dolphinfish) from sailing yacht
Fishing for Mahi-Mahi (Dorado, Dolphinfish) from sailing yacht by Phuketian.S is licensed under CC BY 2.0 .

1. Their name comes from their appearance, not behavior

Despite the name, dolphin fish are not related to dolphins at all. They earned their name from their distinctly curved dorsal fin, which resembles a dolphin’s.

However, unlike actual dolphins, dolphin fish cannot breathe air. They are fish, not mammals.

2. They sport brilliant colors

Dolphin fish are among the most colorful fish in the sea. As juveniles, they have bright blue, yellow, and green hues.

As they mature, their colors intensify, with older males turning golden, green, or blue. Their colors help attract mates and camouflage them from predators.

3. They are incredibly fast swimmers

Dolphin fish are speed demons, capable of blazing speeds over 60 mph. Their streamlined, torpedo-shaped bodies and powerful tails allow them to accelerate rapidly to chase down prey.

In fact, they’re considered one of the fastest fish in the ocean!

4. They grow very quickly

Dolphin fish have an incredibly fast growth rate, reaching full maturity by 4-5 months old.

They can grow over 6 feet long and weigh up to 80 pounds in their first year alone! Their rapid growth allows them to reproduce at an early age.

5. They reproduce prolifically

Female dolphin fish release over a million eggs at once and spawn year-round. This allows them to recover quickly from fishing pressure, unlike slow-growing fish.

6. They have a short lifespan

Despite their fast growth, dolphin fish rarely live over 4 years in the wild. Most only reach 1-2 years old before falling victim to predation or fishing.

Their high reproductive rate balances out their short lifespans.

7. They are opportunistic hunters

Dolphin fish are aggressive hunters that eat a wide variety of prey. Using their speed and sharp vision, they chase down flying fish, squid, crustaceans, and more.

They even associate with floating objects and whales to ambush prey.

Dolphin fish are a highly prized game fish due to their fighting spirit and tasty meat. Their habit of gathering under floating objects makes them easier for anglers to locate.

9. They are not considered endangered

Despite their popularity among anglers, dolphin fish are still abundant in the wild. Their rapid growth prevents overfishing in most regions.

However, their numbers could decline in the future due to climate change and habitat loss.

10. They associate with floating objects

Dolphin fish “love” debris and floating objects like logs, buoys, and even boats. These objects provide them shelter and allow them to ambush prey.

In Hawaii, fishermen take advantage of this behavior by creating specialized floating rigs to catch them.

The dolphin fish holds a special place in Hawaiian culture, where it’s known as mahi-mahi. Mahi-mahi even has a Hawaiian phrase named after it: “maika’i no ka mahi-mahi” meaning “good is the dolphin fish”.

Its image frequently appears in Hawaiian art and jewelry.


In summary, the dolphin fish is an incredible species with unique traits that make it a joy to observe and catch. Its speed, colors, behavior, and cultural significance showcase its importance as an ocean dweller.

Hopefully this article gave you a new appreciation for dolphin fish. Their abundance, hardiness, and diversity mean they’ll continue thrilling anglers and nature lovers for years to come.

So next time you see a flash of green and gold in the waves, think of the spectacular dolphin fish!

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