MARLIN, striped l Terapturus audax (Philippi, 1887); ISTIOPHORIDAE FAMILY; also called sniper, red marlin (Japan).

Found in tropical and warm temperate waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans, the striped marlin is pelagic and seasonally migratory, moving toward the equator during the cold season and away again during the warts season.

The most distinguishing characteristics of the striped marlin is probably its high, pointed first dorsal fm, which normally equals or exceeds the greatest body depth. Even in the largest specimens this fin is at least equal to 90 percent of the body depth. Like the dorsal fin, the anal and pectoral fins are pointed. They are also flat and movable and can easily be folded flush against the sides, even after death. The sides are very compressed. The lateral line is straight, single and clearly visible. The striped marlin is steely blue on the back, faded to bluish silver on the upper flanks and white below the lateral line. There are a number of iridescent blue spots on the fins and pale blue or lavender vertical stripes on the sides. These may or may not be prominent, but they are normally more prominent than those of other marlins, and they persist after death, which is not always true on other marlins.

Like other marlins, the striped marlin is highly predatory, feeding extensively on pilchards, anchovies, mackerel, sauries, flying fish, squid, and whatever is locally abundant. The striped marlin is well known for its fighting ability and has the reputation of spending more time in the air than in the water after it is hooked. In addition to long nuns and tail walks, the striped marlin is known to "greyhound" across the surface, making up to a down or more long, graceful leaps. It can be caught fairly close to shore, and though it lacks the size and weight of the blue marlin or the black marlin, it is more acrobatically inclined Fishing methods include trolling whole fish, strip baits, or lures; also live bait fishing.

The striped marlin has red meat, and many people consider it the least desirable of the billfish for food purposes. In some areas, however, it is highly esteemed and a commercially important species; such is the case in Japan and throughout most of its range in the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is reported to be the most common Indo Pacific billfish species. As with other marlins, the majority of the catch is taken by commercial longlines.