Animals

Escolar: Facts You Won't Believe!

Escolar facts for kids are fascinating.
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The escolar is a fascinating species of fish that lives in the mesopelagic zone, which is anything between 600–3300 ft (182.9-1005.8 m) below sea level! In that zone, the sea is incredibly dark, so these fish have evolved large eyes and dark scales on its skin to adapt.

The escolar belongs to the Gempylidae family, which includes snake mackerels. It is also known as Walu Walu or Walu fish and is sold as a delicacy in many places because of its rich flavor. Their high-fat content means this fish can be used in a lot of cooking, as well as sushi, and has a lot of omega 3 fatty acids.

In some restaurants in the USA, Lepidocybium flavobrunneum is wrongly labeled and sold as white tuna, white tuna albacore, or super white tuna. This is because this fish is incredibly fatty, which makes it very tasty. The escolar has a high oil content in its flesh.

However, it is also banned in places like Italy and Japan. This is because the high oil content in the fish makes it dangerous to consume in large quantities. If you eat more than 6 oz (170 g) of this fish, you’re going to have tummy aches and an awful night!

You may also check out trout facts and albacore facts from Kidadl.

Escolar

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Squid, crustaceans, smaller fish

What do they eat?

Carnivore

Average litter size?

300,000 eggs per spawn

How much do they weigh?

Up to 100 lb (45.4 kg)

How long are they?

59-118 in (149.9-299.7 cm)

How tall are they?

N/A

What do they look like?

Dark brown to black scales

Skin Type

Wet, slimy scales

What are their main threats?

Hunting by humans

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Mesopelagic zone of tropical and subtropical seas

Locations

Worldwide, including USA, Italy, Japan, Korea

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Actinopterygii

Scientific Name

Lepidocybium flavobrunneum

Family

Gempylidae

Genus

Lepidocybium

Escolar Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an escolar?

Escolar Lepidocybium flavobrunneum is a type of fish of the family Gempylidae.

What class of animal does an escolar belong to?

Escolars are fish belonging to the class Actinopterygii.

How many escolars are there in the world?

As the escolar species is currently not under threat, their numbers are not actively monitored. Their populations are stable.

Where does an escolar live?

In the mesopelagic region of tropical and subtropical seas around the world.

What is an escolar's habitat?

The escolar's habitat is the mesopelagic zone of tropical and subtropical waters of the world. This area of the ocean gets hardly any light and is very cold. To manage in these circumstances, the escolar swims at the bottom during the day and swims up to the photic zone at night.

All species in the mesopelagic zone have evolved to be carnivorous.

The escolar has adapted to its habitat by evolving large eyes to see in the depths and dark scales on its skin to blend in. It also has sharp teeth to capture its prey–squid, lanternfishes, mackerel, and shrimp.

Like the oilfish, the escolar has a high oil content in its flesh because it cannot process a material called wax esters present in its diet.

Who do escolars live with?

Adults of the escolar species spend their lives alone, except during breeding season when they mate.

How long does an escolar live?

While there are no clear records, it is estimated that this species can live for more than 11 years.

How do they reproduce?

The escolar are oviparous. This means that females spawn eggs, which can be up to 300,000 eggs in one spawning. The males fertilize the eggs, and then the baby escolar fish hatch.

Their breeding or spawning season is year-round, and they usually have specific breeding grounds that they congregate at.

What is their conservation status?

The escolar species has the conservation status of Least Concern as it has no discernible threats to its population or habitat.

Escolar Fun Facts

What do escolars look like?

Escolars are large fish with dark-colored scales on their skin. The baby escolar and young escolar have dark brown scales that darken as they get older, to almost fully black.

They have huge eyes that help them navigate their deep-sea habitat. They have a particularly prominent lateral keel, which is a stiff projection of skin on their sides. They also have finlets leading down to their tailfin, which are called caudal fins. They have two large fangs in the middle of their top jaw to help them hunt.

The flesh of this fish is extremely white or cream-colored and becomes fully white after cooking. The meat is tough to identify. Escolar sushi is comparable to the finest tuna. As a result, is it is frequently sold under the wrong names. These names are white tuna, white tuna albacore, super white tuna, or oilfish. Some more names are Chilean sea bass, king tuna or blue fin tuna, butterfish, pacific cod, orange roughy, rudderfish, Atlantic cod, black cod, and blue cod.

Escolars can have brown to black scales depending on their age.
*Please note this is the image of an Indian mackerel, not an escolar. If you have an image of an escolar, please let us know at hello@kidadl.com.

How cute are they?

Being inhabitants of the deep sea, escolars are not cute at all. With their large eyes, sharp fangs, and dark scales, escolar actually looks quite scary!

How do they communicate?

All fish primarily communicate through body language, scents, and electromagnetic signals. As far a the escolar are concerned, there are no documented methods of their communication, but they must use the same methods as all other fish.

How big is an escolar?

The escolar can reach a range of 5–10 ft (1.5-3 m) in length. In contrast, the Atlantic mackerel is typically 1–2 ft (0.3-0.6 m) in length. Escolars are five times bigger than Atlantic mackerel!

How fast can an escolar swim?

There is no scientific documentation of the speed of the escolar. They are assumed to be fast-moving because of their shape and because their family of mackerels is known for their speed.

How much does an escolar weigh?

Adult escolars can weigh up to 100 lb (45.4 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the males and females.

What would you call a baby escolar?

Baby escolars don’t have any specific names. Like all fish, when they are first hatched, they are called fry. When they grow a bit and start looking like smaller versions of the adult escolar, they are called fingerlings.

What do they eat?

Like all fish that dwell in the mesopelagic region of the ocean, escolars are carnivorous. They eat fish like other mackerels, and crustaceans like shrimp or crabs. The escolar diet is high in wax esters which they cannot process, leading to the high oil content in their flesh.

They remain in deep water in the mornings, then swim up to the photic zone when it's too dark to hunt.

Are they poisonous?

Escolars are not poisonous in the traditional sense. They can be eaten and are very flavorful because of the high quantity of oil. However, they do cause side effects like keriorrhea if overconsumed. This is a type of food poisoning caused by eating too much of the wax esters present in fish.

Eating more than 6 oz (170 g) can make one sick and cause a health problem called keriorrhea, with symptoms like stomach cramps, bloating, and diarrhea.

Would they make a good pet?

Escolars are wild animals that have adapted to live in very deep, cold waters with high water pressure. Their eyes will be burned out by sunlight.

They cannot be kept as pets. There is no way to keep them safely and comfortably in a home environment with the right water salinity, light, and pressure.

Did you know...

As a carnivorous fish, escolar is a sit and wait predator; meaning it stays still till it spots potential prey and then launches itself at them.

The oil content in the flesh of the escolar is about 14-25%.

Between 2010–2013, it was found that nearly 84% of fish labeled white tuna or white tuna albacore were actually escolar.

Is it safe to eat escolar?

Escolar or Walu Walu is a delicacy in many places and is widely eaten as seafood. It is prized for its rich, buttery flavor, cooked in multiple ways, and even eaten as sushi.

However, eating large quantities can cause nausea, stomach cramps, rapid bowel movements, and vomiting. This is because the human body cannot process the high oil content of the fish.

The fish is rich in flavor and omega 3 fatty acids but one should eat less than 6 oz (170 g). Stick to the pieces of filet closer to the tail.

Escolars have high mercury content too.

And be careful! A lot of restaurants and places that sell fish mislabel escolar. You might find it being sold as other fish like white tuna, white tuna albacore, king tuna, bluefin tuna, rudderfish, sea bass, orange roughy, butterfish, grouper, gemfish, Chilean sea bass, blue cod, or black cod.

Why is escolar banned in Japan?

Despite its rich flavor, making it a popular sushi fish, in 1977, Japan banned the escolar for consumption. The Japanese government sees it's flesh as toxic because of the side effects caused by overconsumption.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these king salmon facts and carp facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable escolar fish coloring pages.

*Please note this is an image of a mackerel, not an escolar. If you have an image of an escolar, please let us know at hello@kidadl.com.

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