Species A. solandri
The wahoo is a huge fish belonging to the Scombridae family, which includes tuna and mackerel. The wahoo is a fast predator that may be found in subtropical and tropical seas all across the world’s oceans. Its flesh is highly sought after, and it is a popular target for both recreational and commercial fishermen.
The wahoo is a long, thin fish with a silvery-white ventral side and an iridescent-blue dorsal side, as well as irregular blue striping on the flanks. It is rather huge, reaching a length of more than 8 feet and weighing more than 180 pounds. The wahoo is a predatory fish with a big mouth that makes it easier for it to catch its victim. It has a flap of skin that protects its mandible when it closes its mouth. This is significant since it is one of the most distinct traits that distinguishes it from other “Spanish mackerels” such as the Atlantic king mackerel, Cero mackerel, and Indo-Pacific narrow-barred Spanish mackerel.
It has two dorsal fins, the longest of which is over half the length of the fish’s body, like a little sail. The posterior dorsal fin, which has a distinctive curve, is directly behind it. A fairly symmetrical anal fin, placed at roughly the same location along the length of the fish, complements this. On the dorsal and ventral sides, there are multiple tiny finlets between these fins and the huge, forked caudal (tail) fin that is distinctive of the family. These are also prevalent in the Scombridae family, and may be seen on tuna and other “Spanish mackerels.”
Wahoo Distribution and Habitat
The wahoo may be found in subtropical and tropical seas all throughout the world’s oceans. It’s epipelagic, which means it prefers to stay near the surface over its whole range. It’s more abundant along the beach or near seamounts or islands off the coast. It is, for example, a well-known inhabitant of the Hawaiian seas.
Wahoo is a predatory species of fish. They ambush many types of tiny schooling fish, such as anchovies, using their speed and power. They will also hunt squid and cuttlefish, which are cephalopods.
Wahoo may grow to be rather large as an adult. As a result, the wahoo does not have many predators. The predators it possesses, on the other hand, are among the biggest and most voracious in the sea. This includes a variety of bigger fish, such as bluefin tuna, as well as “toothed whales,” such as dolphins and orcas. When given the chance, pelagic sharks such as the great white shark would hunt on wahoo.
Reproduction and Lifecycle
The wahoo, unlike many other members of its family, prefers to be alone or in small groups. During the spawning season, they will often form bigger schools. Because the wahoo is a broadcast spawner, aggregation with other wahoo helps boost the chance of successful reproduction during this period. They will discharge their sperm and eggs into the water column, allowing for external fertilisation.
This season, the wahoo will spawn numerous times, generating millions of gametes each year. Wahoo juveniles achieve sexual maturity after a year. They live for around 10–12 years on average.
The wahoo is a very popular sport fishing target. Commercial fisheries also take it on a regular basis, though this is usually as a by catch from a fishery targeting another species. Landings may be exceedingly high at times, like when a spawning group gets caught in a fishing net. However, because of its strong reproductive output and overall non-schooling habit, fishing attempts have had little effect on its numbers. On the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the wahoo is now classified as The Least Concern.
Fun Facts about the Wahoo!
The wahoo belongs to the Scombridae family, which also includes tuna, mackerel, and billfish like the swordfish. This family has a number of traits in common, and the wahoo exhibits a lot of them. The wahoo, on the other hand, is a little different from the rest of the family, so there’s plenty of possibility for new discoveries through the lens of this popular game fish.
Not Like the Others
The wahoo’s body is long and thin, and it is less fusiform than many other Scombridae members, such as football-shaped tunas. The barracuda has a form that is comparable to that of the wahoo and other “Spanish mackerels.” The taxonomy of the barracuda, on the other hand, is separate from that of this group, and although there are some parallels, it differs in several key respects. The Barracuda, for example, has noticeable scales all over its body. It also has bigger teeth with a dagger-like form, which is likely its most notable feature. Finally, they lack the forked caudal (tail) fin that distinguishes the Scombridae family.
The Solitary Scombrid
The wahoo, unlike many other members of the Scombridae family, prefers to remain alone or in tiny groups of just a few individuals. Wahoo may school in small groups of up to 100 individuals under appropriate circumstances in very fertile waters. This is especially common during the spawning season in order to boost fecundity and reproductive success.
In response to selection forces in its environment, this behaviour developed over thousands of generations. It also aids the wahoo’s response to more modern selection processes, including large-scale human fishing activities. Wahoo, by accident, are less vulnerable to commercial fishing pressures than many comparable species, such as tuna, since they are not as simple to “round-up” in nets as other schooling species. They are often taken as by catch in these bigger, more profitable fisheries.
In Need of a Warm-Up
The wahoo does not have the same capacity to control its body temperature as “real tuna,” which are endothermic and can keep heat in their body mass and swim muscles. This cuts down on the time it takes to respond. Despite this, it is still one of the world’s quickest fish.
The Colour of Life
The wahoo is distinguished by its iridescent blue colour on the dorsal side and irregular blue stripes on the flanks. Wahoo usually flash colours or camouflage their black vertical bands while hunting. This might be a means of communication between it and other members of the same species, as well as an effort to confuse its prey.
Surprisingly, these hues disappear quickly once the fish has died. Without these colours, it looks a lot like other closely related species as sierra and other Spanish mackerels, leading to the worldwide misunderstanding and lack of seafood labelling uniformity. As a result, conservation and fishery management initiatives have become more challenging.