- 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.
Hog snapper (Lachnolaimus)
Although called hog snapper, this species is actually a member of the wrasse family. They are relatively large and colorful compared to other members of this family. The color of hog snapper varies greatly and is influenced by age, gender, habitat and immediate environment. They are often solid white, but they can also be a speckled orange, brown or copper color. The rear dorsal fin often has a small black dot at its base, especially in younger fish. The edges of the dorsal, anal and caudal fins have dark bars. Generally speaking, males are more colorful, and young hog snapper change color more quickly.
Hog snapper feed primarily during the day on mollusks, crabs and sea urchins. In a year they will consume nearly five times their body weight.
Hog snapper are unique mostly to the subtropical waters of the western Atlantic Ocean. At its extreme, the range for hog snapper extends from Nova Scotia in Canada to Brazil. But the common range spans from North Carolina to Bermuda to the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico to the northernmost coast of South America. The greatest concentrations of hog snapper are found around Florida and the islands of the West Indies.
Hog snapper reside in coastal waters, especially in reef areas populated by coral organisms. They also prefer areas in which they can camouflage themselves among the reef and plants. Generally they are found in water between 10 and 120 feet deep.
- Hog snapper are a high quality food fish that is regarded by many as the best tasting of all the reef fish. They are marketed both fresh and frozen. Unfortunately, populations of hog snapper are under pressure due to intense fishing.