Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Tunny

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TUNNY, a member of the mackerel family, or Scombridæ with somewhat the appearance of gigantic mackerel. There are several genera and species. The common tunny (Thynnus vulgaris of Cuvier, Orcynus thynnus of Gunther) is the thynnus of the ancients. It is a large fish, reaching nine feet in length, and 1,000 pounds in weight. It occasionally occurs on the British coasts, but is particularly abundant in the Mediterranean. It has a large mouth with small teeth, two dorsal fins, the first elongated and reaching nearly to the second, which is shorter; behind the second dorsal and anal are eight or nine finlets like those of the mackerel. There is a keel on each side of the free portion of the tail, and the tail fin is crescentic. There are small scales all over the body, but they are larger in the anterior part, where they form a well-defined corselet. An air bladder is present. The tunnies approach the coasts in summer, chiefly for the purpose of spawning, and it is at this time that the fishery is carried on. Like the mackerel the fish are gregarious and migratory, but it is untrue that they all leave the Mediterranean in autumn, as was formerly supposed. The Phoenicians established a tunny fishery at a very early period on the coast of Spain, and the tunny appears on Phoenician medals of Cadiz and Carteia. Salted tunny was much esteemed by the Romans, and was called Saltamentum Sardicum.