For other uses, see Bonito (disambiguation).
Atlantic bonito, Sarda sarda
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Scombridae
Subfamily: Scombrinae
Tribe: Sardini
Jordan and Evermann, 1896

Bonitos are a tribe of medium-sized, ray-finned predatory fish in the family Scombridae – a family it shares with the mackerel, tuna, and Spanish mackerel tribes, and also the butterfly kingfish.[1] Also called the Sardini tribe, it consists of eight species across four genera; three of those four genera are monotypic, having a single species each.


Bonito is an adjective that means "pretty" applied to males or masculine objects both in Portuguese and Spanish (Bonita is the feminine form), but it is unclear whether the name of the fish is related to this.[2] However, it is said to be derived of the Italian "bonito" and the Latin "bonus", meaning "good", probably referencing the great taste of the fish.[3]



Pacific and Atlantic bonito meat has a firm texture and a darkish color. The bonito has a moderate fat content. The meat of young or small bonito can be of lighter color, close to that of skipjack tuna, and is sometimes used as a cheaper substitute for skipjack, especially for canning purposes, and occasionally in the production of katsuobushi. Bonito may not be marketed as tuna in all countries, however.

The Atlantic bonito is also found in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, where it is a popular food fish, eaten grilled, pickled (lakerda), or baked.

See also


  1. "Sardini". Integrated Taxonomic Information System.
  2. Oxford English Dictionary
  3. "Bonite", French National Center of Textual and Lexical Resources
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