For other uses, see Wahoo (disambiguation).
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Scombridae
Tribe: Scomberomorini
Genus: Acanthocybium
Gill, 1862
Species: A. solandri
Binomial name
Acanthocybium solandri
(Cuvier in Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1832)[2]
  • Acanthocybium forbesi Seale, 1912
  • Acanthocybium petus (Poey, 1860)

Wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri) is a scombrid fish found worldwide in tropical and subtropical seas. It is best known to sports fishermen, as its speed and high-quality flesh make it a prize game fish. In Hawaii, the wahoo is known as ono.[4] Many Hispanic areas of the Caribbean and Central America refer to this fish as peto.[5]

The flesh of the wahoo is white to grey, delicate to dense, and highly regarded by many gourmets. The taste has been said to be similar to mackerel.[6] This has created some demand for the wahoo as a premium-priced commercial food fish. In many areas of its range, such as Hawaii, Bermuda and many parts of the Caribbean, local demand for wahoo is met by artisanal commercial fishermen, who take them primarily by trolling, as well as by recreational sports fishermen who sell their catch.


Its body is elongated and covered with small, scarcely visible scales; the back is an iridescent blue, while the sides are silvery, with a pattern of irregular vertical blue bars and have razor sharp teeth. 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 m (8 ft 2 in) in length, and weighing up to 83 kg (183 lb).[7][8] Growth can be rapid.[8] Wahoo can swim up to 60 mph (97 km/h).[9] They are some of the fastest fish in the sea.

The wahoo may be distinguished from the related Atlantic king mackerel and from the Indo-Pacific narrow-barred Spanish 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 the smaller Spanish mackerel and Cero mackerel. The teeth of the wahoo are similar to those of king mackerel, but shorter and more closely set together.

The barracuda is sometimes confused with mackerel and wahoo, but is easy to distinguish from the latter two species. Barracuda have prominent scales, larger, dagger-like teeth, and lack the caudal keels and blade-like (forked) tail characteristic of the scombrids.


Wahoo tend to be solitary[10] or occur in loose-knit groups of two or three fish.[11] Where conditions are suitable, they can be found in schools as large as 100 or more. Their diet is made up of other fish and squid.[8]

Most wahoo taken have a trematode parasite living in their stomachs, the giant stomach worm (Hirudinella ventricosa), which does not appear to harm the fish.[9][12]



Although local wahoo populations can be affected by heavy commercial and sports fishing pressure, wahoo as a species are less susceptible to industrial commercial fishing than more tightly schooling and abundant species such as tuna. Wahoo are regularly taken as a bycatch in various commercial fisheries, including longline fisheries for tuna, billfish, and dolphinfish (mahi-mahi or dorado) and in tuna purse seine fisheries, especially in sets made around floating objects, which act as a focal point for a great deal of other marine life besides tuna. In 2003, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council issued a Dolphin Wahoo Fishery Management Plan for the Atlantic.[13][14] However, the species as a whole is not considered overfished.[13]


Wahoo catch

In most parts of its range, the wahoo is a highly prized sport fishing catch.[10] It reaches a good size, is often available not too far from land, and is a very good fighter on light to medium tackle. It is known in sports fishing circles for the speed and strength of its first run. The aggressive habits and razor-sharp teeth of the wahoo can be of considerable annoyance when targeting larger gamefish, however, such as tuna or marlin.


  1. Collette B; et al. (2011). "Acanthocybium solandri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 8 December 2012.
  2. Cuvier G. & Valenciennes A. (January 1832). Histoire naturelle des poissons. Tome huitième. Livre neuvième. Des Scombéroïdes. Historie naturelle des poissons. v. 8: i-xix + 5 pp. + 1-509, Pls. 209-245. [Cuvier authored pp. 1-470; Valenciennes 471-509. Date of 1831 on title page. i-xv + 1-375 in Strasbourg edition.]
  3. "Acanthocybium solandri". Integrated Taxonomic Information System.
  4. Ben Pollinger (30 September 2014). School of Fish. Simon and Schuster. pp. 420–. ISBN 978-1-4516-6515-4.
  5. Zane Grey (29 February 2000). Tales of Fishing Virgin Sea. Derrydale Press. pp. 26–. ISBN 978-1-4616-6146-7.
  6. Robson Green (23 May 2013). Extreme Fishing. Simon and Schuster. pp. 115–. ISBN 978-1-4711-2750-2.
  7. Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2005). "Acanthocybium solandri" in FishBase. November 2005 version.
  8. 1 2 3 Mike Lane. Angler's Guide to Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico. Pelican Publishing. pp. 361–. ISBN 978-1-4556-0032-8.
  9. 1 2 "Wahoo Fast Facts". Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
  10. 1 2 Wendy Sweetser (2009). The Connoisseur's Guide to Fish & Seafood. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. pp. 94–. ISBN 978-1-4027-7051-7.
  11. Lenny Rudow (23 April 2012). Rudow's Guide to Fishing the Mid Atlantic. Geared Up Publications. pp. 192–. ISBN 978-0-9787278-0-2.
  12. Williams Jr., William H.; Bunkley-Williams, Lucy (1996). "Parasites of Offshore Big Game Fishes of Puerto Rico and the Western Atlantic" (PDF). University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
  13. 1 2 "Dolphin/Wahoo". South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Retrieved June 15, 2012.
  14. "Fishery Management Plan for the Dolphin and Wahoo Fishery of the Atlantic" (PDF). South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. January 2003. Retrieved June 15, 2012.

Further reading

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