Seriola, The Genus of The Greater Amberjack and The Almaco Jack

The greater amberjack and the Almaco jack are carnivorous fish. They live near shore in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. They present a challenge to sportsmen who try to catch them.

Seriola dumerili (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Hand drawn and coloured diagram of the Almaco Jack based on fishbase images (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


     The scientific name of the greater Amberjack is Seriola dumerili (Risso, 1810). Similarly, the Almaco jack is Seriola rivoliana Valenciennes, 1833. They belong to Carangidae, a perciform family of teleost fishes.

     Risso originally called greater Amberjack Caranx dumerili. Because only the specific name proposed by Risso is currently accepted, his name is put in parentheses in the current scientific name.

     Zoologists have altered the composition of the genus Seriola over the years. According to Wikipedia, the genus currently contains seven other extant species besides the two mentioned above: S. carpenteri, the Guinean amberjack; S. fasciata, the lesser amberjack; S. hippos, the Samson fish; S. lalandi, the yellowtail amberjack; S. peruana, the fortune jack; S. quinqueradiata, the Japanese amberjack; and S. zonata, the banded rudderfish. This agrees with a list in Discover Life.

Other Common Names

     These species have a variety of English common names. The greater amberjack is also bears the name of Jenny Lind, a Swedish opera singer. Other English common names for this species are great yellowtail, rock salmon, sailor’s choice, etc. Some languages use the genus name as a common name. For example, one of the Russian common names is seriola bolshaya, which means “big seriola.”

     The Almaco jack is also called the longfin yellowtail and the highfin amberjack.

     Both species are called talakitok in Tagalog. They share this name with many similar species.


     According to Fishbase, adult greater amberjacks occur “in deep seaward reefs, occasionally entering coastal bays.” Their range includes the warmer waters of the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Indian Ocean, as well as the Mediterranean Sea.

     In the eastern Atlantic, the greater amberjack has occasionally been confused with Seriola carpenteri; However, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History, the greater amberjack “has been documented has been documented in the eastern Atlantic Ocean from the British coast south to Morocco and into the Mediterranean.”

     The Almaco jack also likes to swim in warm waters near land. According to Fishbase, they are generally found 30 to 35 meters from shore, though they also occur about 245 meters from land. They frequent coral reefs.

     Like the greater amberjack, they are well represented in the warmer waters of the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, as well as the Western Atlantic. They seem to be scarce in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. However, they do occur near Lampedusa, a small island south of Sicily.


     The greater amberjack is a large fish that occasionally grows to a length of 190 centimeters. Its dorsal region is olive or bluish gray. Its ventral region is silvery white, according to Fishbase.

     There is an amber stripe on each side of the fish, which undoubtedly is the reason for the name amberjack. According to the Florida Museum of Natural History, these stripes lie above the lateral line and run “from the nose to just in front of the dorsal fin.” Moreover, “this stripe becomes more defined during feeding activity or when the fish is excited.”

     The Almaco jack enjoys a more modest size. According to Fishbase, its maximum length is 160 centimeters. A distinguishing feature is their dorsal and anal fins, which are taller than those of most jacks. According to Marinebio, “their body and lower fins are generally dark brown or dark bluish green, and their lighter colored belly may look brassy or even lavender.”

Feeding Habits

     The greater amberjack and the Almaco jack are carnivorous. They eat smaller fish, squid and crustaceans.

     In return, they become prey to larger fish. They also find their way into human cuisine. However, they do not succumb to sportsmen without putting up a terrific fight.


Wikipedia: Seriola

Discover Life: Seriola

Fishbase: Seriola dumerili (Risso, 1810) Greater Amberjack

Florida Museum of Natural History: Greater Amberjack

Fishbase: Seriola rivoliana Valencienne, 1833 Longfin Yellowtail

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