Does Tuna Have Bones? Debunking the Myth and Unraveling the Truth

Does Tuna Have Bones

Tuna, a popular and nutritious seafood choice, has been a staple in diets worldwide for centuries. However, there is a common misconception that tuna has bones, which might deter some people from enjoying this delectable fish. In this article, we will debunk the myth and unravel the truth about whether tuna has bones or not, as well as explore its unique anatomical features.

Tuna Anatomy: The Skeletal Structure

Tuna belongs to the group of bony fish, meaning they do have a skeletal structure like other fish species. However, unlike many bony fish with an extensive network of small bones, tuna possesses a distinct advantage – they have very few visible bones. In fact, the majority of bones are so tiny and soft that they are nearly imperceptible when consuming tuna fillets.

The Backbone and Lateral Line

The most prominent bone in tuna is the backbone, which runs through the center of the fish. It is essential for providing structural support and protecting the delicate spinal cord. While the backbone is relatively more substantial, it is still relatively small compared to the size of the fish, making it less noticeable when prepared for consumption.

Additionally, tuna possesses a lateral line, a series of small sensory organs running along both sides of its body. These lateral line organs help the fish detect changes in water pressure, aiding in navigation and detecting prey. However, these structures are not prominent bones but rather subtle, tiny sensory organs.

Boning Process: Preparing Tuna Fillets for Consumption

When you purchase tuna fillets from your local market or order them at a restaurant, the fish undergoes a meticulous boning process. Expert fishmongers skillfully remove any noticeable bones, including the backbone and any larger bones found in the fillet. As a result, consumers can enjoy the succulent taste of tuna without worrying about encountering any bothersome bones.

Canned Tuna: The Bone-In Option

While most tuna fillets available in stores are boneless, canned tuna might offer a different experience. Some canned tuna products, especially those labeled as “chunk light tuna,” may contain small, edible bones that soften during the canning process. These bones, known as “crunchy bones,” are entirely safe to consume and are a rich source of calcium. However, some people may prefer boneless canned tuna, which is also widely available in the market.


In conclusion, tuna does have bones, but they are almost unnoticeable when consuming the fish. Tuna’s skeletal structure is expertly managed during the boning process, ensuring that consumers enjoy a bone-free eating experience when savoring tuna fillets. For those who prefer canned tuna, the option of bone-in or boneless products is available, catering to individual preferences. So, rest assured that indulging in the deliciousness of tuna won’t involve dealing with troublesome bones.