Feeding ecology and diet

Most scombroids are active predators, feeding on a wide variety of fishes, squids, and crustaceans, but some (such as the mackerels) filter small planktonic organisms out of the water with their long gillrakers.

Smaller species of scombroids, such as mackerels, fall prey to all larger predacious sea animals. Whales, porpoises, sharks, tunas, bonito, bluefish, and striped bass take a heavy toll. Cod often eat small mackerel; squids destroy great numbers of young fish; and seabirds of various kinds follow and prey upon the schools when these are at the surface.

Medium-sized scombroids such as bonitos and skipjack are preyed upon by tunas, billfishes, and sharks. Predators of large tunas like the bluefin include killer whales and such sharks as the white shark and the mako shark. Large billfishes are so active and powerful that they have few enemies but are preyed upon by killer and sperm whales and mako sharks.

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