Horse-eye Jack

Horse-eye Jack, Caranx latus

The Horse-eye Jack, Caranx latus, whose common Spanish name is jurel blanco, is a common member of the Jack or Carangidae Family, known collectively as jureles and pámpanos in Mexico. Globally, there are seventeen species in the genus Caranx, nine of which are found in Mexican waters, three in the Atlantic and five in the Pacific and one in both oceans.

The Horse-eye Jacks have moderately compressed deep oblong bodies with a depth that is 29 to 33% of standard length. They are dark blue to blue-gray dorsally and silvery-white to golden ventrally. Their caudal fin is yellow and their dorsal fin and upper portion of their caudal fin have dark tips. They have prominent black scutes along their caudal fin base. Juveniles have broad black bars along their sides. They have a rounded head, a blunt snout, disproportionately large eyes (after which they are named), and a large mouth that extends past the eyes and opens at the front. Their pectoral fins are pointed. They have 22 to 25 gill rakers and 32 to 39 scutes. Their lateral line is strong with a moderately long anterior arch. Their body is covered with small scales.

The Horse-eye Jacks are pelagic subtropical schooling fish, with adults usually found in offshore rocky reefs at depths up to 420 feet and juveniles found in large schools along shores of sandy beach, over muddy bottoms, and in brackish rivers. They reach a maximum length of 1.10 meters (3 feet 7 inches) and 14.5 kg (32 pounds) in weight, which is the current IGFA world record, with this fish being caught in the Gulf of Mexico in 2012. They are opportunistic predators feeding on benthic and pelagic fish as well as squid and crustaceans.

In Mexican waters the Horse-eye Jacks are found in all waters of the Atlantic.

The Horse-eye Jack can be confused with the Crevalle Jack, Caranx hippos (prominent black spot on pectoral fin base).

The Horse-eye Jacks are popular game fish for recreational anglers. They are also fished commercially via purse seines and traps. They are sold commercially on a limited basis, although their food value is viewed as marginal and larger fish are known to contain Cigua Toxin. They are presently considered highly vulnerable to extinction due to heavy fishing pressure.

Horse-eye Jack, Caranx latus. Fish caught in coastal waters off Key Largo, Florida, December 2014. Length: 37 cm (15 inches). Catch, photo and identification courtesy of Ben Cantrell, Peoria, IL.

Horse-eye Jack, Caranx latus. Fish caught in coastal waters off Key Largo, Florida, February 2015. Length: 52 cm (20 inches). Catch, photo and identification courtesy of Dean Kimberly, Atlanta, GA.

Horse-eye Jack, Caranx latus. Fish caught off the beach of Playa de Carmen, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, April 2012. Length: 88 cm (35 inches). Weight: 12 kg (26 pounds). Catch and photo courtesy of Maurice Kerger, Holland.