Wahoo, Acanthocybium solandri (Cuvier 1832)

Other Names: Bastard Mackerel, Jack Mackerel, Mongrel Mackerel, Pike Mackerel, Wahoo Fish

A Wahoo, Acanthocybium solandri, tagged off Yellow Bank, Berry Islands, Bahamas. Source: J Thomas McMurray / iNaturalist.org. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike


An iridescent bluish-green mackerel with silvery sides, 24-30 cobalt blue blue vertical bars extending below the lateral line that rapidly fade after death, and a white underside. 

Wahoo are one of the fastest fish in the ocean, swimming at up to 80 km/hr. Like tunas, this voracious predator has specialised rigid gills that allow rapid uptake of oxygen to sustain fast swimming speeds.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Schultz, S. 2022, Acanthocybium solandri in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 May 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/716

Wahoo, Acanthocybium solandri (Cuvier 1832)

More Info


NW of Shark Bay Western Australia, around the tropical north to the Sydney region, New South Wales; also Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean, and Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species is circumglobal in tropical and warm temperate seas (including Caribbean Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Persian Gulf, Sea of Japan).

An oceanic, epipelagic species, either solitary or occurring in small schools, often around reefs, islands and sea mounts, at depths to 340 m.


Dorsal fin XXIII-XXVII, 12-15 + 8-9 finlets; Anal fin 12-14 + 9 finlets; Gill rakers absent; Vertebrae 62-64.

Body very elongate, fusiform, almost cylindrical. Snout short; mouth large; upper jaw mobile, posterior portion of maxilla hidden when mouth closed; lower jaw protruding beyond upper. Triangular, finely serrate teeth present in both jaws. Dorsal fin-base elongate. 

A single lateral line curves downward under the first dorsal fin. Scales small, no anterior corselet. Caudal peduncle slender with one large lateral keel, flanked by a smaller keel on each side. Swim bladder present.


Reaches 210 cm and 83 kg.


Iridescent blue-green dorsally, sides silvery with 24-30 cobalt blue blue vertical bars extending below the lateral line, fading quickly after death; ventral surface white.


Carnivore - preys on other bony fishes such as scombrids, clupeids, carangids, lanternfishes, flying fishes and cephalopods. In northern NSW this species is known to feed on garfish and needlefish around the offshore reefs and islands.


Despite its popularity, relatively little is known of the biology of this species. Individuals at different stages of gonadal maturity have been found together at the same time indicating that spawning occurs at different times throughout the extended spawning season. 

Although Wahoo have relatively small gonads when compared with other scombrids, the ovaries of a 130 cm long female were found to contain 6 million eggs.

Eggs and larvae are pelagic


Wahoo are popular with commercial and recreational fishers worldwide and are taken as bycatch in Spanish Mackerel fisheries. 

Recreational fishers catch this highly prized species while trolling lures, often at relatively high speeds. Renown for their powerful high speed runs, Wahoo often leap right out of the water after taking a bait. This voracious predator is known to strip the bait and sometimes trolled fish clean off the hooks.

Wahoo is also incidentally caught and retained for market in oceanic fisheries that target tuna and mackerel.

The flesh is of a very high quality and Wahoo are considered to be an excellent table fish if bled and cleaned well prior to cooking.


IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Least Concern


Wahoo, like other large pelagic fishes, accumulate mercury in their flesh and there is a positive linear relationship between Hg and length and age, mean 0.50 mg/kg (Adams 2010).


Named after the Swedish botanist Daniel Solander, who accompanied Captain Cook on his first voyage to Australia.

Species Citation

Cybium solandri Cuvier 1832, Histoire naturelle des poissons. 8: 192, no locality.


Bray, D.J. & Schultz, S. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Wahoo, Acanthocybium solandri (Cuvier 1832)


Adams, D.H. 2010. Mercury in Wahoo, Acanthocybium solandri, from offshore waters of the southeastern United States and the Bahamas. Marine Pollution Bulletin 60: 148-151.

Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. 

Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2 

Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp.

Collette, B.B. 2001. Scombridae. pp. 3721-3756 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218. 

Collette, B.B. 2010. Reproduction and development in epipelagic fishes, pp. 21-63 in Cole, K.S. (ed.) Reproduction and Sexuality in Marine Fishes: Patterns and Processes. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

Collette, B., Acero, A., Amorim, A.F., Boustany, A., Canales Ramirez, C., Cardenas, G., Carpenter, K.E., de Oliveira Leite Jr., N., Di Natale, A., Die, D., Fox, W., Fredou, F.L., Graves, J., Guzman-Mora, A., Viera Hazin, F.H., Hinton, M., Juan Jorda, M., Kada, O., Minte Vera, C., Miyabe, N., Montano Cruz, R., Nelson, R., Oxenford, H., Restrepo, V., Salas, E., Schaefer, K., Schratwieser, J., Serra, R., Sun, C., Teixeira Lessa, R.P., Pires Ferreira Travassos, P.E., Uozumi, Y. & Yanez, E. 2011. Acanthocybium solandri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T170331A6750961. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-2.RLTS.T170331A6750961.en. Accessed on 23 March 2022.

Collette, B.B., et al. 2011. High Value and Long Life—Double Jeopardy for Tunas and Billfishes. Science 333(6040): 291-292

Collette, B.B. & Nauen, C.E. 1983. FAO species catalogue. Scombrids of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of tunas, mackerels, bonitos and related species known to date. Fisheries Synopsis No. 125, Vol. 2. Rome : FAO. 137 pp. 81 figs 

Cuvier, G.L. 1832. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 8 509 pp. pls 209-245. See ref at BHL

Fraser-Brunner, A. 1950. The fishes of the family Scombridae. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 12 3(7): 131-163 figs 1-35 

Garber, A.F., Tringali, M.D. & Franks, J.S. 2005. Population genetic and phylogeographic structure of Wahoo Acanthocybium solandri, from the western central Atlantic and central Pacific Oceans. Marine Biology 147: 205-214.

Haro-Bilbao, I., Riginos, C., Baldwin, J.D., Zischke, M., Tibbetts, I.R. & Thia, J.A. 2021. Global connections with some genomic differentiation occur between Indo-Pacific and Atlantic Ocean wahoo, a large circumtropical pelagic fish. Journal of Biogeography 48(8): 2053-2067. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.14135

Hutchins, B. 2004. Fishes of the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 66: 343–398 

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3)

Matsumoto, W.M. 1968. Morphology and distribution of larval wahoo Acanthocybium solandri (Cuvier) in the central Pacific Ocean. Fishery Bulletin 66: 299-322.

Pepperell, J. 2010. Fishes of the Open Ocean a Natural History & Illustrated Guide. Sydney : University of New South Wales Press Ltd 266 pp. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Roberts, C.D. 2015. 232 Family Scombridae. pp. 1623-1638 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. (eds). The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 4 pp. 1153-1748.

Theisen, T.C., Bowen, B.W., Lanier, W. and Baldwin, J.D. 2008. High connectivity on a global scale in the pelagic Wahoo, Acanthocybium solandri (tuna family Scombridae). Molecular Ecology 17: 4233-4247.

Wegner, N.C., Chugey, A., Sepulveda, A. & Graham, J.B. 2006. Gill specializations in high-performance pelagic teleosts, with reference to striped marlin (Tetrapturus audax) and wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri). Bulletin of Marine Science 79(3): 747-759.

Yearsley, G.K., Last, P.R. & Ward, R.D. (eds) 1999. Australian Seafood Handbook. Hobart : CSIRO Marine Research 460 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37441024

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Danger:May cause ciguatera poisoning

Depth:0-200 metres

Fishing:Popular sportsfish

Habitat:Oceanic, pelagic

Max Size:210 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map