Volume 5    Number 14

Cero Mackerel Races like a Rocket
at Long Cay Ridge Reef near Long Cay in Belize

Cero Mackerel Races like a Rocket at Long Cay Ridge Reef in Belize

One of the highlights of our afternoon dive at Long Cay Ridge Reef near Belize was seeing a pair of these large Cero Mackerels.

Cero Mackerels are large and fast. They can be up to 4 feet long, although I'd guess the two fish we saw were about 3 feet long. These are classic open-water fish. They are long and sleek, with swept-back fins and huge tails. Everything about them is built for speed. These fish will chase down other fish in open water, so they have to be fast swimmers.

Their silvery bodies are very shiny, which makes them very hard to photograph. You can see the bright reflection of the camera strobe from this Cero Mackerel's head. The colors of its body near its dorsal fin are a better representation of what this fish really looks like. Notice the white tip on its dorsal fin. Also notice the yellow spots and stripes on its body. Look closely, and you will notice a bright line running down its body crossing its yellow stripe just underneath the dorsal fin. This bright line is called the "lateral line," and is a sensor that allows the Cero Mackerel to feel vibrations in the water. This sensor may help the Cero Mackerel detect other fish at some distance through the water.

Compare this Cero Mackerel with the Yellowtail Snapper in e-ReefNews Vol. 5 No. 13. In what ways are these two fishes alike, and in what ways are they different?

ReefNews photographer Jonathan Dowell took this photo using a Canon A2 camera with a 28-105 mm zoom lens in an Ikelite housing with an Ikelite strobe.



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