Description & Behavior

Horse-eye jacks, Caranx latus (Agassiz, 1831), aka black jacks, cabalis, false jacks, gallegos, horse eyes, horse eye jacks, horse-eyes, horse-eye crevalles, horse-eye trevally, jacks, and yellowjacks, reach up to 101 cm in length and weigh up to 13.4 kg. These fish have 8-9 dorsal spines, 20-22 dorsal soft rays, 2-3 anal spines and 16-17 anal soft rays. They have no spots on their pectoral fins. They may have a small spot on their gill covers. Their scutes (bony plates) tend to be dusky or blackish; their caudal (tail) fin is yellow. Their young have broad blackish bars on their bodies.

Horse-eye jacks are similar in body shape to other jacks in the Family Carangidae, but their head is not as blunt. Their fins are blackish as opposed to the yellow tinge of crevalle jacks. As their name indicates, their eyes are very large.

World Range & Habitat

Horse-eye jacks are found in the western Atlantic: New Jersey (USA), Bermuda, and the northern Gulf of Mexico to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Also found throughout the Caribbean. In the eastern Atlantic: St. Paul’s Rocks, Ascension Island and two confirmed records from the Gulf of Guinea.

A pelagic schooling species usually found in offshore reefs within a depth range of 0 – 140 m though they are usually found at 0 – 20 m. Juveniles are encountered along shores of sandy beaches, also over muddy bottoms. May penetrate into brackish water and ascend rivers. Often approaches divers.

Feeding Behavior (Ecology)

Horse-eye jacks, Caranx latus, feed on small fishes, shrimps and other invertebrates.

Life History

Reproduces via dioecism (sexes are separate), fertilization is external with an unknown spawning frequency in June, July, and August off Cuba.

Conservation Status & Comments

Resilience to fishing pressure: Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 – 4.4 years
Extinction vulnerability to fishing: High vulnerability (57 of 100)

Horse-eye jacks, Caranx latus, have been implicated in ciguatera poisoning. Fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes.

References & Further Research

Caranx latus (Carangidae) Chooses Dock Pilings to Attack Silverside Schools: A Tactic to Interfere With Stereotyped Escape Behavior of Prey? – Michael J. Cermak, The Biological Bulletin – Boston University Marine Program, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole

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