- Although the flesh of the almaco jack is considered quality table fare, the species has been associated with ciguatera poisoning, a seldom fatal stomach irritation.
- The almaco jack is susceptible to tapeworm parasites in the caudal peduncle area, but the meat can be eaten safely if affected portions are cut away.
The wahoo is a long, slender species of mackerel with a sharply pointed head and widely forked tail. It has a distinguishable dark blue coloring along its back, with 25 to 30 bright or dusky blue vertical bands that extend down the side. These bands are sometimes referred to as tiger stripes. While these stripes are not necessarily apparent in larger specimens, they do become more prominent when the fish is excited. The lateral line drops significantly at the middle of the first dorsal fin and extends in a wavy line back to the tail. The first dorsal fin is long and contains 21 to 27 spines. It is separated from the second dorsal fin, which has 13 to 15 rays. The anal fin has 12 to 14 very small rays.
The pointed upper jaw of the wahoo contains 45-64 large and strong teeth. The gill structure is more characteristic of the marlin than the mackerel, and the wahoo lacks gill rakers.
While the wahoo is perfectly capable of biting chunks out of large fish, it primarily feeds on whole small fishes, such as sardines, scads, mackerel and squid. They are frequently solitary feeders, but they may sometimes be found in small, loose groups. Wahoo are sub-surface hunters that hang several feet below the surface and shoot up to attack prey with tremendous speed. Although they feed at all times, they tend to be more active in the morning and evening hours.
Wahoo are present in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans in clear, tropical and subtropical waters. Heavy seasonal concentrations occur off the Pacific coasts of Panama, Costa Rica and Baja California in the summer; off Grand Cayman in the Atlantic during winter and spring; and off the western Bahamas and Bermuda in the spring and fall.
Described as one of the fastest fish in the sea, swimming at speeds of 50 miles per hour or more, wahoo are seasonally migratory. They seek waters in the 72 to 77 F range, and are often found near the surface of the water, but will usually over or along deep humps, ledges, seamounts, and other structures that cause current to well up. They are also found along current edges and around floating objects and sargassum. Larger specimens are often found near offshore wrecks and reefs where smaller fish are abundant, even 100 or more feet below the surface.
- The wahoo was originally plentiful off the island coast of Oahu, once commonly spelled Wahoo. This accounts for the fish's name.
- Wahoo are known for their aggressiveness. There have been instances of wahoo jumping into boats that are trolling lures.
- The wahoo has commercial importance in some countries and is marketed fresh, salted, spice-cured or frozen.