Classification / Names

Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes (Perch-likes) > Sphyraenidae (Barracudas)


Size / Weight / Age

Max length: 200 cm
Common length: 140 cm
Max published weight: 50.0 kg


Reef-associated; marine; brackish; depth range 1 – 100 m, usually 3 – 30 m

Climate / Range

Subtropical; 42°N – 35°S, 180°W – 180°E


The Wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri) is a dark blue scombrid fish found worldwide in tropical and subtropical seas. Some say that the name "Wahoo" is a derivation of the name of the Hawaiian Island Oahu, while others say the name derives from the exclamation of some fishermen, "Wahoo!" who have hooked into the extremely fast running fish. The fish is also known as Ono, after the Hawaiian word for "delicious", 'ono, Jack Mackerel, and Peto.

The body is elongate and covered with small, scarcely visible, scales; the back is an iridescent blue green, while the sides are silvery, with a pattern of vertical blue bars. These colors fade rapidly at death. The mouth is large, and both the upper and lower jaws have a somewhat sharper appearance than those of King or Spanish Mackerel. Specimens have been recorded at up to 2.5 meters (8 ft) in length, and weighing up to 83 kilograms (180 lb). Growth can be rapid. One specimen tagged at 11 pounds grew to 33 pounds in one year. Wahoo can swim up to 75 kilometers (47 miles) per hour.

The Wahoo may be distinguished from the related King mackerel by a fold of skin which covers the mandible when its mouth is closed. In contrast, the mandible of the King mackerel is always visible as is also the case for Spanish and Cero mackerels. Their teeth are similar to those of King mackerel, but shorter and more closely set together.

Wahoos tend to be solitary or occur in loose-knit groups of two or three fish, rather than in schools. Their diet consists essentially of other fish and squid.

The flesh of the Wahoo is delicate and white and regarded as very good in quality. This has created some demand for the wahoo as a premium priced commercial food fish. However, because of its solitary lifestyle, it is taken commercially only as a bycatch in the long-line fishery for Tuna and Dolphin. Wherever found, it is a prized sport fishing catch. Not always catchable, but otherwise it can be very delicious.


Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and east coast of Africa to Hawaii and the Marquesan and Tuamoto islands. Western Atlantic: Massachusetts (USA), Bermuda, and throughout the Caribbean Sea to Brazil. Eastern Atlantic: Sierra Leone, Côte d'Ivoire, Togo, Nigeria, Senegal, Mauritania, St. Paul's Rocks, and São Tomé Island.