Spawning area of the tropical Skipjack Tuna, Katsuwonus pelamis (Scombridae), in the western Mediterranean Sea




Skipjack, reproductive biology, spawning season, sexual maturity, gonadosomatic index, Mediterranean


Skipjack is an important commercial species with a tropical distribution, although captures in the Mediterranean Sea have been recorded for decades. The western Mediterranean Sea, specifically the Balearic Sea, is a spawning area for several tuna species. We hypothesized that the western Mediterranean warming in the last few decades could lead to the expansion of skipjack tuna spawning areas from tropical areas to the Mediterranean Sea. We analysed 454 individuals (41.8-81 cm straight fork length) caught by sport fishing vessels in offshore trolling championships in Spanish Mediterranean waters during summer months from 2014 to 2019. Analysis of the gonadosomatic index and microscopic examination of the ovaries (n=192) showed that the skipjack is reproductively active in the western Mediterranean, particularly in the Balearic Sea. These results indicate that the skipjack has expanded its distribution and spawning area from tropical waters to the Mediterranean, probably owing to the gradual warming detected in the area in the last few decades. This new spawning activity in the area should be monitored in the near future to study the possible impact on other tuna species that share the distribution range and spawning area with skipjack tuna in the western Mediterranean.


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How to Cite

Puerto MA, Saber S, Ortiz de Urbina JM, Gómez-Vives MJ, García-Barcelona S, Macías D. Spawning area of the tropical Skipjack Tuna, Katsuwonus pelamis (Scombridae), in the western Mediterranean Sea. scimar [Internet]. 2022Dec.14 [cited 2023Jan.28];86(4):e051. Available from:




Funding data

Instituto Español de Oceanografía
Grant numbers GPM 17-21