Crevalle Jack

The crevalle jack (Caranx hippos), also known as the common jack, black-tailed trevally, couvalli jack, black cavalli, jack crevale, or yellow cavalli is a common species of large marine fish classified within the jack family, Carangidae. The crevalle jack is distributed across the tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic Ocean, ranging from Nova Scotia, Canada to Uruguay in the west Atlantic and Portugal to Angola in the east Atlantic, including the Mediterranean Sea. It is distinguishable from similar species by its deep body, fin colouration and a host of more detailed anatomical features, including fin ray and lateral line scale counts. It is one of the largest fish in the genus Caranx, growing to a maximum known length of 124 cm and a weight of 32 kg, although is rare at lengths greater than 60 cm. The crevalle jack inhabits both inshore and offshore waters to depths of around 350 m, predominantly over reefs, bays, lagoons and occasionally estuaries. 

The crevalle jack is a powerful, predatory fish, with extensive studies showing the species consumes a variety of small fish, with invertebrates such as prawns, shrimps, crabs, molluscs and cephalopods also of minor importance. Dietary shifts with both age, location and season have been demonstrated, which led some researchers to postulate the species is indiscriminant in its feeding habits. The crevalle jack reaches maturity at 55 cm in males and 66 cm in females, with spawning taking place year round, although peaks in activity have been documented in several sites. The larval and juvenile growth has been extensively studied, with the oldest known individual 17 years of age. The crevalle jack is an important species to commercial fisheries throughout its range, with annual catches ranging between 1000 and 30 000 tonnes over its entire range. It is taken by a variety of netting methods, including purse nets, seines and gill nets, as well as hook-and-line methods. The crevalle jack is also a revered gamefish, taken both by lures and bait. The species is considered of good to poor quality table fare, and is sold fresh, frozen, or preserved, or as fishmeal or oil at market. The crevalle jack is closely related to both the Pacific crevalle jack and the longfin crevalle jack, the latter of which has been extensively confused with the true crevalle jack until recently.

The crevalle jack is one of the largest members of Caranx, growing to a known maximum length of 125 cm and a weight of 32 kg, although it is generally uncommon at lengths greater than 65 cm. Unverified reports of fish over 150 cm may also be attributable to this species. The crevalle jack is morphologically similar to a number of other deep-bodied carangids, having an elongate, moderately compressed body with the dorsal profile more convex than the ventral profile, particularly anteriorly. The eye is covered by a well-developed adipose eyelid, and the posterior extremity of the jaw is vertically under or past the posterior margin of the eye. The dorsal fin is in two parts, the first consisting of eight spines and the second of one spine followed by 19 to 21 soft rays. The anal fin consists of two anteriorly detached spines followed by one spine and 16 or 17 soft rays. The pelvic fins contain one spine and five soft rays, while the pectoral fins contain 20 or 21 soft rays. The caudal fin is strongly forked, and the pectoral fins are falcate, being longer than the length of the head. The lateral line has a pronounced and moderately long anterior arch, with the curved section intersecting the straight section midway below the second dorsal fin. The straight section contains 23 to 35 very strong scutes, with bilateral keels present on the caudal peduncle. The chest is devoid of scales with the exception of a small patch of scales in front of the pelvic fins. The upper jaw contains a series of strong outer canines with an inner band of smaller teeth, while the lower jaw contains a single row of teeth. The species has 35 to 42 gill rakers in total and 25 vertebrae are present.

The crevalle jack's colour ranges from brassy green to blue or bluish-black dorsally, becoming silvery white or golden ventrally. A dark spot is present on the pectoral fin, with a similar dark to dusky spot present on the upper margin of the operculum. Juveniles have around five dark vertical bands on their sides, with these fading at adulthood. The first dorsal fin, pectoral and pelvic fins range from white to dusky, occasionally with golden tinges throughout. The anal fin lobe is bright yellow, with the remainder of the fin ranging from golden to dusky, while the underside of the caudal peduncle often being yellow in adults. The caudal fin itself is also golden to dusky, with the lower lobe often brighter yellow than the upper, with both the lobes often having a black trailing edge.

The crevalle jack lives in both inshore and offshore habitats, with larger adults preferring deeper waters than juveniles. In the inshore environment, crevalle jack inhabit shallow flats, sandy bays, beaches, seagrass beds, shallow reef complexes and lagoons. The species is also known to enter brackish waters, with some individuals known to penetrate far upstream; however, like most euryhaline species, they generally do not penetrate very far upriver. The water salinities where the species has been reported from range from 0% to 49%, indicating the species can adapt to a wide range of waters. Studies in West Africa found marked differences in the sex ratios of populations in brackish waters, with females very rare move offshore generally do not leave continental shelf waters, however still penetrate to depths of 350 m, and possibly deeper. These individuals live on the outer shelf edges, sill reefs and upper slopes of the deep reef, and tend to be more solitary than juveniles.[20] Adults have also been sighted around the large oil rig platforms throughout the Gulf of Mexico, where they use the man-made structure like a reef to hunt prey. The larvae and young juveniles of the species live pelagically offshore along the continental shelf and slope, and are also known to congregate around oil platforms, as well as natural floating debris such as sargassum mats.

Species Information

Scientific Name:Caranx hippos
Environment:Inshore, Nearshore, Offshore, Surf
Ideal Temp:70-85ºF (21-29ºC)
Technique:Bottom Fishing, Casting, Chunking, Fly, Jigging
Lure Type:Bottom Rig, Crankbaits, Flies, Jigs, Plugs, Soft Plastics, Topwater
World Record:30.00 kg (66 lb 2 oz) Barra Do Dande, Angola 01-Jun-2010
Other Names:crevalle

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