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This fascinating fish species is one of the world's most widely distributed tunas. They live in tropical and temperate oceans from the equator to about 45 degrees latitude in both the northern and southern hemispheres. As a result, Albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) play an essential role in the world's aquatic ecosystem.
A distinguishing trait of albacore tuna is their extremely long pectoral (side) fins, up to 30% of the fish's total length. In addition, their streamlined design allows them to swim at high speeds. They show dark blue and silver colors with some yellow on their fins. Schools of albacore tuna are common throughout all ocean waters and the Mediterranean Sea.
These tunas are predators of the open sea. Unlike other tunas, which eat mainly fish, the albacores prey on cephalopods such as squid. Their primary prey is a deep-water squid known as the odd bobtail (Heteroteuthis dispar). Albacores dive over 1300 feet (400 m) to search for food, and, in turn, they are a food source for sharks, rays, and larger tunas.
Albacore is one of the most common tuna species caught for human consumption. Not only do they provide food for people, but they also help create jobs. Sport anglers and commercial fisheries target the albacore, and packaging and distribution are important industries.
A female albacore tuna will produce two to three million eggs per spawning. The eggs hatch in one or two days, and the fish can live for 11 to 12 years. However, albacore never rest because they must remain in constant motion for their gills to collect enough oxygen to meet their needs.
Albacore tuna play an integral role in the entire marine ecosystem. Regional management organizations and governments work to maintain the albacore's population and habitat so they can prosper. God commanded humans to have dominion over the fish of the sea, which is a great responsibility. Beautiful species like the albacore tuna give us plenty of reason to believe in a Master Designer.
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