Almaco Jack (Seriola rivoliana)

Almaco Jack (Seriola rivoliana)

A deep-bodied amberjack and a member of the Carangidae family, the almaco jack is an excellent and widely distributed sportfish. It is a fine food fish, although it sometimes has tapeworms in the caudal peduncle area, which can be cut away, and it has been associated with ciguatera poisoning in the Caribbean.


The body and the fins can be a uniform dark brown, a dark bluish-green, or a metallic bronze or gray, with the lower sides and the belly a lighter shade, sometimes with a lavender or brassy cast. A diagonal black band usually extends from the lip through each eye to the upper back at the beginning of the dorsal fin; young fish sometimes display five or six bars.

The front lobes of the dorsal and the anal fins are high and elongated and have deeply sickle-shaped outer edges. There are seven spines in the first dorsal fin. The almaco jack is similar in appearance to the greater amberjack but has a deeper, more flattened body than the greater amberjack and a more pointed head; the greater amberjack has a more elongated body, a lighter band, and a shorter front dorsal fin.


A large species, the almaco jack is known to grow to 3 feet in the Atlantic, although it is commonly between 1 and 2 feet long and weighs less than 20 pounds. In the Pacific, it grows to almost 5 feet and 130 pounds but usually weighs 50 to 60 pounds. In the Atlantic, the all-tackle world record is a 78-pound fish taken off Bermuda in 1990, whereas the Pacific all-tackle world record is a 132-pound fish taken off Baja California in 1964.


Almaco jacks spawn offshore from spring through fall.


An offshore predator, the almaco jack feeds mainly on fish but also on invertebrates.

Other Names

amberjack, greater amber-jack, longfin yellowtail; Afrikaans: langvin-geelstert; Arabic: gazala; French: seriole limon; Hawaiian: kahala; Japanese: songoro, hirenaga-kanpachi; Malay/Indonesian: chermin, aji-aji; Portuguese: arabaiana, xaréu limao; Samoan: tavai, tafala, palukata; Spanish: pez limon, palometa, medregal, huayaipe, fortuno, cavallas.


Found around the world, almaco jacks occur in the eastern Pacific from Southern California to Peru, including the Gulf of California and the Galápagos Islands. In the western Atlantic, almaco jacks range from Cape Cod to northern Argentina.


A warmwater species, almaco jacks prefer deep, open water and inhabit the outer slopes of reefs, but they rarely swim over reefs or near shore. Young fish are often associated with floating objects and sargassum. Almaco jacks often travel alone and occasionally in schools at depths of 50 to 180 feet.