- 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.
Tarpon snook (Centropomus)
Tarpon snook look similar to other species of snook (fat, swordspine and common snook), but there are distinct differences. The name of this species refers to the tarpon-like upturned snout, which the other snook lack. As with other snook, the lower jaw protrudes beyond the upper. The body is elongated, tapering at both ends, and is silvery with a prominent black lateral line running from the top of the gill cover through the tail fin. The pelvic fin is orange-yellow with a blackish tip. There are 13 to 15 (usually 14) rays in the pectoral fin, fewer than the other snook, and the anal fin has 7 rays, one more than all other snook have. The body is more compressed than other species of snook as well.
Tarpon snook feed mainly on baitfish, but eat crabs and shrimps as well. They tend to be ambush feeders, hiding amid cover until their prey swims within striking distance. They feed throughout the water column, from the surface to the sea floor.
Tarpon snook occur in the western Atlantic from around Miami, Fla., south to Brazil, including the Florida Keys, the Caribbean islands and Mexico. It is rare on the Gulf Coast of Florida, though it has been reported as far north as Fort Myers.
Tarpon snook inhabit subtropical coastal waters. They move between fresh water and salt water seasonally, always staying close to shore and to estuaries. Low-salinity brackish water or fresh water is their preference, and they are most common in bays, shaded lagoons and lakes, and the lower stretches of rivers, creeks and canals. They also hang around bridge and dock pilings. Mangrove shorelines serve as their nursery grounds.