||The lipid composition of somatic and reproductive tissues was determined for female skipjack tuna Katsuwonus pelamis caught in the western Indian Ocean between latitude 10 degrees N and 20 degrees S and longitude 40 degrees and 70 degrees E. The highest total lipid (TL) contents were in the liver and gonads, with white muscle levels approximately three-fold lower. Three lipid classes dominated: triacylglycerols (TAG), sterol esters and wax esters (SE-WE) and phospholipids (PL). Collectively, these accounted for between 70 and 80% of TLs. Changes in lipid concentrations were evaluated over the maturation cycle. Immature fish had the lowest gonad and liver TL levels; concentrations of TL, TAG, SE-WE and PL accumulated from immature to mature (spawning-capable) phase, reflecting sustained vitellogenic activity of the liver and a transfer of lipids to developing oocytes from the onset of vitellogenesis. Gonado-somatic and hepato-somatic indices were positively correlated with each other and positively related to TL in the gonads and liver. Fulton's condition index and lipid concentrations in muscle did not vary significantly over the maturation cycle; fat content in the main storage tissues was undepleted as the ovary developed. Hence, K. pelamis apparently supports reproduction directly from food intake over the breeding season. In the gonads, reserve lipids (SE-WE and TAG) and sterols were related to batch fecundity but this was not the case for somatic and hepatic tissues. These results suggest that K. pelamis utilizes an income breeding strategy.