American Oceans


The Wahoo, scientifically known as Acanthocybium solandri, is a fast-moving, pelagic fish found in tropical and subtropical waters around the globe.

wahoo Acanthocybium solandri

Wahoos can grow up to 2.5 meters in length and weigh over 83 kg. Wahoos are predatory fish, and their diet consists primarily of other fish, squid, and crustaceans.

They are known to be aggressive and can be quite dangerous to humans if provoked. Wahoos are popular among anglers because of their fighting ability when hooked.

They are also considered good eating, with their flesh being white, firm, and flaky. They are also know as Ono in Pacific Island territories.

Wahoo or Acanthocybium solandri found in tropical waters

Today, we will learn more about the Wahoo species and what makes them unique.

Characteristics and Appearance

Wahoos are blue with silver streaks running along their sides. Their deeply forked tail and long, sharp teeth are other notable features. Interestingly, their colors fade when they die.

Weight and Length

Wahoos have been documented to be up to 8’ 2” inches long. The heaviest Wahoo on record weighed in at 183 pounds.

long Wahoo weight record weighed by fisherman

Mature males reach just under three feet long, while mature females reach almost three and a half feet.

Wahoos reach sexual maturity size in about a year and a half. They reach full size at about four years of age.

Physical Characteristics and Color

Wahoos are beautiful fish with a blueish-green hue on the upper side of their bodies. The lower sides are usually silver in color with darker vertical bars.

Wahoo with blueish-green color on upper bodies

The fish has a long, streamlined body that is built for speed. The tail is forked, and the teeth are sharp and triangular. They have giant mouths and a long snout that’s the size of their head.

The colors of the Wahoo are very striking, but they can also be quite variable. The fish can appear almost black, blue, silver, or even gold.

The colors tend to be more intense on the body’s upper side and usually have dark vertical bars on the lower side.

Wahoos can also change their colors depending on their mood or environment. For example, they may be darker when feeding or in deep water.

Lifespan and Reproduction

Wahoos typically live up to six years in the wild. They start to produce more fish at about one year old and can produce up to two million eggs in a single spawning season. They spawn multiple times during each spawning season.

Wahoo spawning season getting ready for reproduction

It is believed they lay so many eggs to compensate for the high mortality rate of the young. Only a small percentage of the laid eggs will survive to adulthood.

Wahoos are not very picky when it comes to mates and will often spawn with any other fish of the same species they can find. The eggs are typically laid in open water, where they will float and hatch within a few days.

The young fish are called fry and stay close to the water’s surface until they are large enough to defend themselves.

They are only two and a half centimeters long when they are born and will grow to about one meter in length in their first year.


Wahoos are found in tropical and subtropical waters around the globe. They typically inhabit reef systems but can also be found in open ocean waters.

Wahoos habitat found in subtropical open ocean waters

There are Wahoo populations in the North Atlantic Ocean, South Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and around Bermuda and Hawaii.

They are also found in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. They are often found near the water’s surface, but they can also be found at depths of up to 150 meters.

Wahoos are pelagic fish, which means they spend most of their time in the open water and only come to the surface to feed.

Where Do Wahoos Live?

Wahoos prefer cooler waters and tend to travel during the summer months to escape the heat. Their favorite habitats are reef systems, but they also frequent open ocean waters.

Wahoos spend their days swimming in the open water and only come to the surface to feed. They are attracted to floating debris and will often gather around buoys, boats, and other structures in the water. This is one of the reasons why fishermen often catch them.

Food and Diet

Wahoos are predators and hunt for their food. They travel to open waters to feed. However, they are also prey to sharks and other large predatory fish who feed on them. They are also hunted by other competing predators who feed on the same food as them.

What Do Wahoo Eat?

Wahoos primarily feed on smaller fish and squid. They have been known to eat octopus, crabs, and shrimp, as well as small pelagic fish, like sardines or anchovies.

small anchovies for Wahoos to eat

Wahoos don’t share a habitat with their prey. Instead, they travel where their food is. This makes them one of the most wide-ranging fish in the ocean.

Wahoos will also consume zooplankton and other small organisms that they filter from the water. At one time, they were thought to only eat plankton.

Wahoos will also eat the eggs of other fish. This is one of the reasons why they are such a threat to other fish populations.

eggs of other fish for Wahoos to feed

While how often Wahoos feed is unknown, they do not hide or camouflage themselves from their prey. Instead, they chase their prey at high speeds.

They are known to engage in predatory behavior to catch their game and enjoy the hunt of pursuing their food.

It is also unknown how long Wahoos can live without food. However, it is believed that they can survive for long periods without eating because they store a large amount of body fat.

Threats and Predators

Wahoos are not a threatened species. Their numbers are stable. However, they are prey to sharks, other large fish, and humans.

Human Threats

Wahoos are also hunted by humans. They are a popular sport fish because of their fighting ability and speed. Catching a Wahoo is rewarding because of its size and the challenge it presents.

They are also a popular food fish. Their meat is white and firm, with a mild flavor comparable to mackerel. Their traditional Hawaiian name means “good to eat”.

Climate Change and Global Warming

Wahoo populations are currently not threatened by climate change or global warming. However, this may change in the future as the oceans warm, since they prefer to swim in cooler waters.

Warmer waters could cause the migration of Wahoos to colder areas. It could lead to competition for food and habitat with other fish species.


While Wahoos are themselves predators, they can become prey to large predators further up the food chain.

Sharks are the main predators that feed on Wahoos, but these fish can also be hunted by any large predatory fish that shares their habitat.

Other Threats

There are few other threats to the Wahoo fish population. Even though humans and sharks hunt them, their numbers are still stable. This is probably due to the number of eggs they lay.

Conservation Status

Wahoos are not a threatened species, and their numbers are stable. However, they are prey to sharks and other large fish. These predators hunt Wahoos as a food source.

However, there are precautionary management measures in place for Wahoos in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. These measures are meant to protect the Wahoo population from overfishing.

The management measures in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean include a minimum size limit, closed seasons, and catch limits. In the Indian Ocean, the management measures include closed seasons and catch limits.

Fun Facts About Wahoo

  • Wahoos are related to mackerel, tuna, and billfishes.
  • The color of the Wahoo’s skin fades when they die.
  • Wahoos are one of the fastest fish in the ocean.
  • Wahoos can grow up to 8 feet long and weigh up to 150 pounds.
  • Wahoos live in all tropical and subtropical oceans.
  • Wahoos are a popular game fish because of their speed and fighting ability.
  • Wahoos lay up to 2 million eggs at a time.
  • The lifespan of a Wahoo is between 5 and 6 years.
  • Wahoo meat is white and firm, with a mild flavor. It is compared to mackerel.

Wrapping Up

Wahoos are unique and fast fish that live in all tropical and subtropical oceans. They are amazing predators and can grow up to eight feet long!

While they are not currently threatened, things could change in the future due to climate change. Make sure to learn more about these fantastic fish and do your part to help protect them!

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