- 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.
Great barracuda (Sphyraena)
A distinctive and fierce-looking fish, the Great Barracuda grows much larger than the related Pacific barracuda. These fish are distinguished by the long, slender body, large eyes, pointed snout, and impressive set of teeth, similar to the freshwater northern pike. They are bluish-gray in color with silver bellies and black spots towards the tail. It has a large, protruding lower jaw, which is effective in displaying a number of the barracudas lower teeth. The barracuda has two dorsal fins, the front characterized by sharp spines. The tail is moderately forked.
Great barracuda feed on a large variety of fish, but appear to be most attracted to shiny, silvery species. This includes mullet, needlefish, mackerel, snappers, groupers, jacks, tuna, and even dolphins. Next to the shark, barracuda are top predators in most of their habitats. They are fast swimmers and voracious feeders that use their many teeth to pulverize prey prior to swallowing.
The great barracuda can be found in all tropical waters of the Atlantic, from Brazil to Africa. They are found in abundance around the Florida coast and Keys, the Bahamas, Central and northern South America.
Great barracuda will venture far out to sea (especially during fall and winter), but are more likely to be spotted in more shallow waters. They prefer to congregate around coral reefs, estuary inlets, bays, shallows around islands, sand and mud flats, piers, and wrecks.
- Great barracuda are curious fish and will follow swimmers, divers and waders. They are often drawn to anything silvery or flashy that moves through the water, even motor propellers.