- 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.
White mullet (Mugil)
The long and slender white mullet is bluish-gray on its upper body, which fades to silver on the sides and white underneath. They lack stripes, which helps to distinguish them from the striped or black mullet. The white mullet has a small triangular mouth with small teeth. There is a dark splotch at the base of the pectoral fin, and the moderately forked tail fin is edged in black. The dorsal fins of the white mullet are widely separated, with the second beginning just past the start of the anal fin.
The white mullet feeds on algae, detritus (dead organic matter) and other marine microorganisms. They ingest food by picking up mud from the bottom and sifting edible material through its gill rakers and teeth. Inedible material is spit out, while the edible substances are digested in a gizzard-like stomach that is similar to that of a chicken.
In the western Atlantic, white mullet can be found from Massachusetts south to Brazil, including Bermuda and the Gulf of Mexico. They will occasionally stray as far north as Nova Scotia, Canada. White mullet in the eastern Atlantic inhabit waters off the coast of Africa from Senegal to Namibia. In the eastern Pacific, white mullet can be found from the Gulf of California to northern Chile, but nowhere along the U.S. coast.
White mullet are schooling fish that are often seen jumping out of the water. They prefer warm coastal waters of less than 50 feet deep. They may inhabit sandy coasts, coastal pools, muddy bottoms of brackish waters, coral reefs and may even venture into fresh water. Juvenile white mullet spend six months in coastal estuaries and lagoons during their early development.
- There are several theories as to why white mullet jump, including to escape predators, remove parasites, clean gill rakers, coordinate spawning migration, or aid in respiration.
- White mullet roe is considered a delicacy by many and may sell in excess of $100 per pound in foreign markets such as Japan.