15+ Different Species of Tuna: What You Should Know About Each Type

Tuna comes in various species, from the luxurious Bluefin to the affordable Skipjack. With 15 types to choose from, each has its unique qualities and uses, catering to different preferences and culinary needs.

different species of tuna

With approximately 266.22 million Americans eating tuna annually, it is no wonder that it’s the third most consumed fish in the US. “Tuna” is a general reference to one of many different species of tuna, from the cheap, canned variety to the most luxurious. 

Fifteen tuna species form part of the Thunnini tribe, a subgroup of the Scombridae (mackerel) family. The Thunnini tribe is further divided into ‘true tunas,’ which includes the Bluefin and Yellowfin varieties, and the other minor tuna varieties, including Skipjack. 

With a large variety of tuna to choose from, here are some things to consider.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, this site earns from qualifying purchases. Thank you!

Different True Tuna Species

‘True tuna’ (genus: Thunnus) species include: 

  • Albacore 
  • Atlantic Bluefin
  • Bigeye
  • Blackfin
  • Longtail
  • Pacific Bluefin
  • Southern Bluefin
  • Yellowfin

Albacore Tuna

BUMBLE BEE Premium Albacore Tuna in Water, Tuna Fish, High Protein Food, Keto Food and Snacks, Gluten Free Food, High Protein Snacks, Canned Food, Bulk Tuna, 2.5 Ounce Pouches (Pack of 12)

Albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) or longfin tuna can grow to about 4 feet long and weigh almost 90 pounds. They have the most extended pectoral fins and the lightest white flesh of any tuna. The meat of an Albacore tuna is mild in flavor, and most people are familiar with this tuna as a canned variety.

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

bluefin tuna 15+ Different Species of Tuna: What You Should Know About Each Type

Atlantic Bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) is one of the largest tuna species, with the highest recorded weight being 1,496 pounds. Fisheries favor this giant tuna since it offers much meat and is also preferred for sushi and sashimi dishes. Many consider it the ‘King of Tuna’ as it is a highly sought-after species.

Bigeye Tuna

Bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) is often mistaken for Yellowfin, despite its big eyes and more robust body. This tuna is a more affordable alternative to Bluefin tuna yet provides similar firm and tasty meat commonly used in sashimi. The only downside is having to restrain yourself from consuming too much, as Bigeye tuna contains high mercury levels.

Blackfin Tuna

Blackfin tuna (Thunnus atlanticus) is one of the smaller species of tuna. The Blackfin grows up to 3 feet and can weigh about 45 pounds. It is not a particularly sought-after tuna since it has a low commercial value, mainly because of its small size. It makes excellent bait for Marlins but can also be enjoyed raw in sushi.

Longtail Tuna

Longtail tuna (Thunnus tonggol) is known, confusingly, as Northern Bluefin tuna in Australia, even though it is not a Bluefin tuna. This tuna grows slower and outlives most other species of the same size but is quite vulnerable to overfishing. Longtail tuna is typically sold fresh, dried, or salted. It is prevalent in Japan since they use it in sashimi.

Pacific Bluefin Tuna

Pacific Bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) is mainly found in the northern Pacific Ocean. They are large, yet slightly smaller than the Atlantic Bluefin. They are known to be powerful swimmers to accommodate their migratory nature. As luxurious and sought-after as the Pacific Bluefin tuna is, many chefs have pledged to refrain from using it in premium sushi or sashimi dishes because of its vulnerability.

Southern Bluefin Tuna

Southern Bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii) can be found in southern hemisphere waters and is especially prevalent in Japan. Its meat is rich in omega-3, vitamin B12, and selenium. Like its other Bluefin peers, this tuna is considered gourmet food. Consumers will pay top dollar for it, mainly offered as high-quality sashimi. 

Yellowfin Tuna

yellowfin tuna 15+ Different Species of Tuna: What You Should Know About Each Type
yellowfin tuna fish underwater in pacific ocean

Yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) is slightly smaller than the Bigeye or Bluefin, with bright yellow finlets and long dorsal and anal fins. This tuna is well-loved raw in places like Hawaii but can also be enjoyed grilled or lightly seared. Because Yellowfin tuna is a leaner meat, it also gets marketed as canned tuna or sold as steaks

Black Skipjack Tuna

Black Skipjack tuna (Euthynnus lineatus) is smaller than its counterparts, reaching only 3 feet and weighing up to 26 pounds. They are very bony, producing very little meat, so you will probably not find them in your local fishmonger. Anglers use Black Skipjack tuna as bait instead. 

Bullet Tuna

Bullet tuna (Auxis rochei) is primarily a tropical fish that can be found worldwide. They tend to be thin and very small, with a maximum length of only 20 inches. Their size and abundance have made them a cheap bait option to attract giant tuna.

Frigate Tuna

Frigate tuna (Auxis thazard) is another small tuna that only grows up to 25 inches with an approximate weight of 4 pounds. They are found globally yet are not fishermen’s preferred catch. Frigate tuna produces red meat that has a rather undesirable oily taste. That, along with their small size, makes them more popular as bait rather than consumption. 

Little Tunny Tuna

Little Tunny tuna (Euthynnus alletteratus) is also known as ‘false Albacore’ and is the most abundant tuna in the Atlantic Ocean. This tuna has a more potent taste than other tuna that divides consumers – you either hate it or can’t get enough of it. Still, it is not commonly eaten and is used as bait for Marlins and Sharks. 

Mackerel/ Kawakawa Tuna

Mackerel tuna (Euthynnus affinis) are known as incredible fighters for their size, like Little Tunny’s, challenging even the most experienced of anglers. Their firm meat is ideal to sell as frozen or canned. Some enjoy Mackerel tuna dried, salted, smoked, or even fresh. 

Skipjack Tuna

Skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) is known by many other names, like striped tuna, victor fish, or oceanic bonito. They offer tender meat with a strong flavor and high-fat content. Alongside Yellowfin, it is the most used type of tuna, making up 70% of all canned tuna in the US. 

Slender Tuna

Slender tuna (Allothunnus fallai) is another tuna with an oilier taste than most. Due to the low demand, it thrives in its numbers. It might be part of canned tuna products when caught as a bycatch, although it’s pretty tasty when cooked. 

Other Tuna Species

Other minor or ‘neritic’ tuna species include: 

  • Black Skipjack 
  • Bullet
  • Frigate
  • Little Tunny
  • Mackerel
  • Skipjack
  • Slender

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Types Of Tuna Are There?

Tuna fish belongs to the Thunnini tribe, a subgroup of the Scombridae (mackerel) family. This Thunnini tribe consists of 15 tuna species, all mentioned in this article.

What Are The Four Types Of Tuna?

There are 15 species of tuna. However, most of the market comprises four species:

  • Skipjack (makes up more than half of the global tuna catch) 
  • Yellowfin
  • Bigeye
  • Albacore

What Is The Best Eating Tuna?

Any one of the three Bluefin tuna species (i.e., Atlantic, Pacific, or Southern) is regarded as the best tuna. Their flesh is meatier, tastier, and has the right balance between protein and fat. For this reason, it is highly sought-after and, as a result, costly.

What Is The Rarest Type Of Tuna?

Based on Bluefin tuna’s popularity, with some catches selling for millions of dollars, their numbers have depleted over the last couple of decades. Bluefin tuna is thus not only a hot commodity for its quality but also because it has become so rare. 

Conclusion

Tuna can be very cheap or extremely expensive, depending on your taste. Higher quality tuna is typically used in sushi and sashimi, thus eaten raw because of its superior flavor. Whereas more common tunas, like the Skipjack, are used in canned varieties.

Bestseller No. 1
Bumble Bee Chunk Light Tuna In Water, 5 oz Cans (Pack of 24) - Wild Caught Skipjack Tuna - 23g Protein Per Serving - MSC Certified Sustainable Seafood, Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Kosher
  • WILD CAUGHT TUNA IN WATER: Premium canned fish with a light, flaky texture and bolder flavor is delicious in classic tuna melts, baked into casseroles, mixed into tuna salad, or as a high-protein sandwich or salad ingredient.
  • THE ORIGINAL AFFORDABLE SUPERFOOD: Excellent source of lean protein (23g per can), DHA & EPA Omega-3s (220mg per can), and vitamin B12. Case contains 24 five ounce cans.
  • CLEAN INGREDIENTS: Non GMO Project Certified, Gluten Free, Kosher Pareve, and great for those on a low carb or ketogenic (keto) diet.
  • CONVENIENT SHELF STABLE FOOD: Perfect for stocking your pantry at home or bringing on the go as a high-protein option while traveling, camping, or on the job.
  • SUSTAINABLE TUNA: MSC Certified Sustainable Seafood, Wild Caught, and Dolphin Safe - submit the code on the can on our Trace My Catch website to learn where and how your seafood was caught, processed, and more. Canned in the USA and packaged in recyclable packaging.
Bestseller No. 2
StarKist Chunk Light Tuna in Water, 5 oz Can, Pack of 8
  • DELICIOUS, MILD FLAVOR: StarKist Chunk Light Tuna in Water can features wild caught tuna with a naturally mild flavor people have come to expect from StarKist. It’s perfect for quick snacks or meals on the go.
  • EXCELLENT SOURCE OF PROTEIN: Our dolphin safe tuna is a natural source of protein and Omega 3s, plus it has 20g of protein and 90 calories per serving. It’s soy free, gluten free and works well with Keto, Paleo, Mediterranean & Weight Watchers diet plans!
  • ADD VARIETY TO YOUR DIET: Tuna is a wholesome choice for a snack or meal that fits into an active lifestyle. StarKist tuna in water is a great and easy way to add seafood to your diet.
  • VERSATILE: StarKist Chunk Light Tuna in water is a versatile and easy way to liven up a meal. It can be used in cool tuna salads, hot casseroles, on sandwiches, and even eaten on its own as a snack or meal!
  • BULK 8 PACK: Buy your tuna in bulk with the StarKist 8-Pack of canned tuna. These tuna cans are easy to store and great to have handy for when hunger strikes!
Bestseller No. 3
Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna in Water, Wild Caught Tuna, 5-Ounce Cans (Pack of 10)
  • RICH, DELICIOUS FLAVOR: Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna in Water is perfectly seasoned with salt and packed in water for the freshest, best taste.
  • ENDLESSLY VERSATILE: The great taste of Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna works in a wide range of recipes, from salads, pastas, wraps and beyond.
  • HIGHLY NUTRITIOUS: Our chunk light tuna canned in water is high in protein and features heart-healthy omega-3s plus vitamins, and minerals. With 23 grams of protein, 0.5 grams of fat, and 0 grams of carbs per can, it’s perfect for keto, paleo, and Mediterranean diets. It’s also gluten-free and made from 100% simple ingredients, with no preservatives or GMOs.
  • WILD TUNA: Our tuna canned in water is responsibly sourced and wild-caught. We’re doing our part to keep our seas healthy now and for future generations.
  • BULK 10 PACK: Stock up on tuna in water and save! Classic canned tuna is the perfect pantry staple, ready whenever you need a satisfying snack or a hearty dinner on short notice.
Bestseller No. 4
Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water, 5 oz Can (Pack of 8) - Wild Caught Tuna - 29g Protein per Serving, High in Omega-3s - Non-GMO Project Verified, Gluten Free, Kosher
  • WILD CAUGHT TUNA IN WATER: Premium canned fish with a mild flavor, firmer texture, and large pieces is a delicious addition to pasta, salads, fish tacos, and seafood bowls.
  • FISH AS FUEL: Excellent source of lean protein (29g per can), DHA & EPA Omega-3s (300mg per can), and vitamin B12. Case contains 8 five ounce cans.
  • CLEAN INGREDIENTS: Non GMO Project Certified, Gluten Free, Kosher Pareve, and great for those on a low carb or ketogenic (keto) diet.
  • CONVENIENT SHELF STABLE FOOD: Perfect for stocking your pantry at home or bringing on the go as a high-protein option while traveling, camping, or on the job.
  • SUSTAINABLE TUNA: Wild Caught and Dolphin Safe - submit the code on the can on our Trace My Catch website to learn where and how your seafood was caught, processed, and more. Canned in the USA and packaged in recyclable packaging.
Bestseller No. 5
Genova Premium Yellowfin Tuna in Olive Oil, Wild Caught, Solid Light, 5 oz. Can (Pack of 8)
  • INCREDIBLE, RICH FLAVOR: Genova Premium Yellowfin Tuna in Olive Oil features high-quality cuts of the fish, wild caught, hand-filleted, and then packed in just the right amount of olive oil for a mouthwatering flavor and perfect texture
  • DELICIOUSLY VERSATILE: The incredible taste of Genova premium canned tuna is central to countless inspired dishes. Elevate your next salad, appetizer or entree with savory Mediterranean flavor
  • NUTRIENT-RICH TUNA: Packed with protein and featuring heart-healthy omega-3s, Genova tuna is perfect for Mediterranean, keto and paleo snacks and meals. No GMOs, 100% natural ingredients and no preservatives — just simple ingredients and decadent taste
  • WILD CAUGHT TUNA: Genova tuna is responsibly sourced, wild caught and traceable. We’re leading the charge to ensure that our seas are sustainable now and for future generations
Bestseller No. 6
StarKist Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water, 5 Ounce (Pack of 24)
  • DELICIOUS, MILD FLAVOR: StarKist Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water cans contain a solid fillet of delicious, wild caught albacore tuna. The mild flavor and firmer texture make it a great option for salads, pasta dishes or in your favorite recipe.
  • EXCELLENT SOURCE OF PROTEIN: White Albacore Tuna is a natural source of protein and Omega 3s, with 26g of protein and 110 calories per serving. It’s soy free and gluten free and works well with Keto, Paleo, Mediterranean and Weight Watchers diets!
  • ADD VARIETY TO YOUR DIET: This dolphin safe tuna is a wholesome choice for a snack or meal. StarKist Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water is a great and easy way to add seafood to your diet.
  • VERSATILE: StarKist Solid White Albacore Tuna is a versatile and easy way to liven up a meal. It can be used in cool salads, hot casseroles, on sandwiches and even eaten on its own as a snack or meal!
  • BULK 24 PACK: Buy your tuna in bulk with the StarKist 24-Pack of canned tuna. These tuna cans are easy to store and great to have handy for when hunger strikes – whether you’re on the go, at the office or at home.
Bestseller No. 7
Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna in Water, Wild Caught Tuna, 25% Less Sodium, 5-Ounce Cans (Pack of 24)
  • RICH, DELICIOUS FLAVOR: Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna in Water is perfectly seasoned and packed in water for the freshest, best taste.
  • ENDLESSLY VERSATILE: The great taste of Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna in Water works in a wide range of recipes, from salads, pastas, wraps and beyond.
  • HIGHLY NUTRITIOUS: Our lower sodium canned chunk light tuna in water has 25% less sodium than our regular 5 oz. can and is high in protein, and features heart-healthy omega-3s, vitamins, and minerals. With 22 grams of protein, 0 grams of fat, and 0 grams of carbs per can, it’s perfect for keto, paleo, and Mediterranean diets. It’s also gluten-free and made from 100% simple ingredients, with no preservatives or GMOs.
  • WILD TUNA: Our tuna canned in water is responsibily sourced and wild-caught. We’re doing our part to keep our seas healthy now and for future generations.
  • BULK 24 PACK: Stock up on tuna in water and save! Classic canned tuna is the perfect pantry staple, ready whenever you need a satisfying snack or a hearty dinner on short notice.
Bestseller No. 8
Wild Planet Skipjack Wild Tuna, Sea Salt, Canned Tuna, Pole & Line Sustainably Wild-Caught, Non-GMO, Kosher, 5 Ounce Can (Pack of 12)
  • DELICIOUS TUNA STEAK – Our Wild Skipjack Tuna steak is hand-cut, hand packed and cooked only once with a touch of sea salt to retain its natural juices and pristine flavor. We don't add water, broths, or fillers to our tuna, so no need to drain the can
  • CONVENIENCE AND QUALITY – With a convenient pull tab, enjoy this tuna at home or on-the-go for a great-tasting, satisfying snack or healthy lunch. Our tuna steak can also be used in seafood recipes or to elevate any tuna sandwich
  • EXCELLENT SOURCE OF PROTEIN – Our Wild Skipjack Tuna contains 20 g of clean protein per 3 ounces and 374 mg of DHA and EPA Omega 3s. Wild Planet tuna is Non-GMO verified, gluten-free, keto-friendly and Kosher Pareve
  • NATURALLY LOW IN MERCURY – Skipjack Tuna are naturally lower in mercury than other tuna species
  • SUSTAINABLY SOURCED WILD-CAUGHT TUNA – We catch our tuna to the highest sustainability standards. Wild Planet tuna is 100% pole & line caught, eliminating bycatch, or the capture of unintended species. Dolphin & turtle safe
SaleBestseller No. 9
365 by Whole Foods Market, No Salt Albacore Tuna in Water 6pk, 5 Ounce
  • 100% Pole & Line Caught
  • In Water No Salt Added Not A Sodium Free Food
  • The Pole & Line Method Is Safe For Dolphins & Sea Turtles
  • 365 by Whole Foods Market products give you that dance-down-the-aisles feeling, virtual aisles too! Our huge range of choices with premium ingredients at prices you can get down with makes grocery shopping so much more than tossing the basics in your cart.
  • An Amazon brand
Bestseller No. 10
Wild Planet Wild Albacore Tuna, No Salt Added, Canned Tuna, Sustainably Wild-Caught, Non-GMO, Kosher 5 Ounce (Pack of 12), Packaging May Vary
  • DELICIOUS TUNA STEAK- Our Wild Albacore Tuna steak is hand-cut, hand packed and cooked only once to retain its natural juices and pristine flavor. We don't add water, broths, or fillers to our tuna, so no need to drain the can
  • CONVENIENCE AND QUALITY- With a convenient pull tab, enjoy this tuna at home or on-the-go for a great-tasting, satisfying snack or healthy lunch. Our tuna steak can also be used in seafood recipes or to elevate any tuna sandwich
  • EXCELLENT SOURCE OF PROTEIN- Our Wild Albacore Tuna with no salt added contains 21 g of clean protein per 3 ounces and 705 mg of DHA and EPA Omega 3s. Wild Planet tuna is Non-GMO verified, gluten-free, keto-friendly and Kosher Pareve
  • NATURALLY LOW IN MERCURY- Using 100% pole & line method allows us to catch smaller, migratory tuna that are naturally lower in mercury than some conventional brands that use deep sea methods and catch larger, older tuna resulting in higher mercury
  • SUSTAINABLY SOURCED WILD-CAUGHT TUNA- We catch our tuna to the highest sustainability standards. Wild Planet tuna is 100% pole & line caught, eliminating bycatch, or the capture of unintended species. Dolphin & turtle safe

Similar Posts