- 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.
Spottail pinfish (Diplodus)
Although spottail pinfish are one of over 100 species of the porgy family, the prominent black band that runs around their caudal peduncle easily identifies them. They are small fish with a round profile, more circular in shape than a typical pinfish.
There is an area of brownish color on the back, but most of the body is silvery in color. There are up to eight light black bars or stripes, both long and short, which are more noticeable in juveniles. The margins of the gill covers are dark. The body is slim and round. They have small mouths, but have extremely strong flat teeth. The large eyes are located relatively high on the head. The dorsal, ventral and pectoral fins all have sharp spines and the pelvic and anal fins have a dusky hue. The second dorsal and anal fins are relatively large.
Spottail pinfish are an omnivorous species, meaning they eat both plants and animals. For the most part they feed on small fish, shrimp and plants. They eat up to 16 times their body weight each year.
Spottail pinfish occupy subtropical waters in the western Atlantic Ocean from about 40 degrees north to 25 degrees south latitude. This corresponds to an area running from the Chesapeake Bay to northeastern Mexico. Areas with the greatest concentration of spottail pinfish are the coasts of Florida, the Florida Keys and the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.
Spottail pinfish reside in shallow coastal areas, especially bays with seagrass beds, docks, bridges and rocks. Generally, they will go farther offshore than pinfish, though the two species can often be found traveling together. Their preference is for flat areas with vegetation and they are seldom found in brackish water. They occupy water from 10 to 120 feet in depth, shallower during warm seasons, deeper during cold seasons.