Maximum fork length more than 118 in (300 cm), commonly to 79 in (200 cm). A very large tuna, deepest near middle of first dorsal fin base. Two dorsal fins, separated by only a narrow interspace, the first with 11-14 spines, the second with 12-16 rays; anal fin with 11-16 rays, both second dorsal and anal fins followed by 7-10 finlets. Pectoral fins very short, less than 80% of head length, never reaching the interspace between the dorsal fins. Teeth small and conical in a single series. Gill rakers, 34-41. Caudal peduncle very slender with a strong lateral keel between two smaller keels. Corselet of large scales anteriorly; rest of body covered with small scales. Swim bladder large. Ventral surface of liver striated. Back metallic dark blue, lower sides and belly silvery white; first dorsal fin yellow or bluish, second dorsal reddish brown, anal fin silvery gray, anal finlets dusky yellow edged with black; no white margin on posterior margin of caudal fin.
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