Thursday, June 24, 2010
June 24, 2010: Dolphin Fish
The mahi-mahi (in Hawaiian) (Coryphaena hippurus) commonly known as dolphin-fish. In other languages it is known as rakingo, calitos, maverikos, dorado, or lampuka (in Maltese). These are surface-dwelling ray-finned fish found in off-shore temperate, tropical and subtropical waters worldwide. They are one of only two members of the Coryphaenidae family, the other being the pompano dolphinfish.
The mahi-mahi is not related to the Delphinidae family of mammals whose common name is simply dolphin. The English language adopted the Hawaiian word mahi-mahi without formalizing its spelling. The American Heritage Dictionary, fourth edition, cites the preferred spelling (occurring “more frequently”) as the hyphenated mahi-mahi. The secondary spelling is the single word mahimahi, with the identical Hawaiian word given as the derivative source. But Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, second edition, reverses this preference order, preferring the single word to the hyphenated version, as does the Oxford English Dictionary (2000 draft entry).
Out of the water, the fish often change color among several hues (giving rise to their Spanish name, dorado maverikos, "golden maverick"), finally fading to a muted yellow-grey upon death.