Mahi-Mahi / Dolphins vs. real Dolphins

It has recently come to my attention that there is a fish called a dolphin, and it is also known as mahi-mahi or dorado.

Why in the world would they name a fish the same name as a completely different animal?

In trying to decipher what was going on, I found several… ahem… interesting websites.

One claimed that it is related to the dolphin, but is not a mammal.

Many (including this one) claimed that is is a dolphin as compared to a porpoise.

Now, I’m pretty sure that (mammal) dolphins are distinct from porpoises, right? I’m guessing that because most of the sites were either about cooking or catching them, they weren’t interested in such distinctions.

Here’s a fairly good description of it.

But the question remains. Why name a fish a dolphin?

‘Maui Maui’ are not porposises as porposises are mammals

You should know that there are two different mammals, one called a dolphin and one called a porpoise, which are closely related. I’ve often heard that you should call the mammal a porpoise since the fish is called a dolphin. This is not accurate for the above reason. But, I don’t know if this post serves any porpoise.

Catfish, dogfish, catshark, zebra fish, etc. Pretty common sort of thing.

Well, okay.

barbitu8, dolphins and porpoises are different families. There are many species of each. It would be pretty silly to just call them all the same thing.

So, auxilliary question: which came first, the naming of the fish or of the mammal? Maybe that’ll shed some light.

Desmostylus, I suppose, but none of those animals you listed above are also sea-dwellers and vaguely fish-shaped.

I think the confusion arises because the spanish ‘dorado’ translates as dolphin.

Hm… so it’s all the Spanish’s fault? :smiley:

That’s interesting. So did the Spanish double-name, or were they confused?

Okay, here’s a better one. Whale shark. It’s a shark, but it’s whale-sized, so… whale shark.

I don’t know why this particular fish was named the way it was, maybe someone thought it was vaguely dolphin-shaped.

Common names can be misleading.

I’m not sure exactly as the spanish for ‘dolphin’ (the mammal) is ‘delfin’ <scracthes head>.

MC, that’s mahi mahi. (Maui is an island of Hawaii).

A propos of nothing, just wanted to point out the incredible coincidence that **mahi **is the Persian word for ‘fish’.

I assumed that “dorado” was a reference to the thing’s color.

That’s cool, Jomo Mojo. I think I read that mahi (as in mahi-mahi) means strong.

And, Desmostylus that’s interesting. Dorado does mean gold, right?

Okay, so where’s the dorado/dolphin connection? We’re getting close, I think…

Mahi mahi is a pretty common fish served in local restaurants by me. Good stuff. Mahi-mahi is the Hawaiin word, dorado is the Spanish (Mexican) word. Reading about the fish from the cites, I have a guess. This fish is said to jump high out of the water, just like dolphins do, hence the dolphin fish.


I’ve personally seen dolphin/mahi-mahi jumping out of the water. Skimmed a few feet over the surface, sideways and on its back, for damn near 50 yards. Very impressive.

I’ve also seen dolphin/mammals jumping out of the water. The typical arched back, nose-first thing you see on the Discovery Channel.

Not even remotely similar phenomena.

Please see my homepage for a COMPLETELY different take on human-dolphin…um…relations.

And thank you to all for the interesting info in this thread, it has helped clarify the dolphin/porpoise/mahimahi confusion for me.

Jesus. I really wish I hadn’t clicked on that link. Those not interested in actual sex with animals will want to avoid it.

Haj was a Weird Earl a while back with the disclaimer “Not for those easily offended.” I heartily endorse the disclaimer.

Yeah, it is. “Dorado” means ‘golden’ in Spanish. Hence: ‘El Dorado’, the mystical city of gold. A lot of the Western states in the US have spanish names. “Colorado” means ‘colorful’, “Nevada” means ‘snowy’, and “California” means ‘hot as an oven’! :smiley:

:eek: OMG! :eek:

I am by no means prude, but that is SICK!

Poor innocent Flipper! Don’t take fish from strangers! SWIM AWAY! SWIM AWAY!!!

I don’t know any Spanish, but I was told that Colorado was from the Spanish word for pink. As in the pink sandstone that is all over the state.