Résumé: Total lipid content and lipid class composition were analyzed in gonads, liver and white muscle of yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) throughout ovary development to understand its reproductive allocation strategy and to assess the relation between female condition and reproduction. A total of 112 females were collected onboard purse-seiner in the Western Indian Ocean from January to March 2009, from June to July 2009, and from April to May 2010. Gonads were characterized by highly variable total lipid contents ranging from 5 to 27 μg mg−1 of wet weight (ww) with a predominance of neutral lipids, mainly triacylglycerols (TAG) and sterol- and wax-esters. The different lipid classes in gonads described an accumulative pattern through the maturity process from immature to hydration phase. Total lipid content in liver varied from 10 to 21 μg mg−1 ww, and serves as fuel for yellowfin tuna reproduction. TAG and phospholipid deposits became depleted as the ovary developed, suggesting a transfer of lipids directly from liver to the oocytes during vitellogenesis. In contrast, muscle total lipid content was low and constant throughout ovarian development (2.5–6 μg mg−1 ww). Hence, yellowfin tuna can be defined as an income-capital breeder species for which the cost of reproduction depends mainly on concurrent energy income from feeding and only little on stored lipids. Besides, no significant relationship between gonad lipid composition and fecundity was found in females able to spawn. Finally, the influence of yellowfin tuna aggregation behaviour on reproductive female condition has been investigated: gonad total lipid contents were higher in females caught in free-swimming schools than in females caught under fish aggregating devices (FADs). However, these results did not clarify whether the influence of FADs on associated yellowfin tuna affects their reproductive capacity.