Horse-eye jack

Content Cover Image

Horse-eye jack. Photo by Mary Lou Frost. Coral Reef Alliance


The horse-eye jack is a member of the jack family (Family Carangidae) that lives along coral reefs in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea


caption Horse-eye jack. Source: www.marinebio.org


Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia (Animals)
Phylum:--- Chordata
Class:------ Osteichthyes (Bony Fishes)
Order:-------- Perciformes
Family:-------- Carangidae (Jacks)
Species:--------- Caranx latus Agassiz, 1831 

Physical Description

Horse-eye jacks are silvery fish that range in length from 30 to 101 centimeters and have a body mass as great as 13.4 kilograms. Their tail fins are yellow and their pectoral fins are clear. They derive their names from their unusually large eyes.


The species is found in the Western Atlantic from New Jersey, USA,  to São Paulo, Brazil, as well as in Bermuda, the northern Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea.  In the Eastern Atlantic they are found at St. Paul's Rocks, Ascension Island, and the Gulf of Guinea.


They live on coral reefs at depths ranging from zero to 140 meters, but are most common from zero to 20 meters. Juveniles live along shores of sandy beaches, also over muddy bottoms. Horse-eye jacks may penetrate into brackish water and swim up rivers. 

Feeding Behavior

Horse-eye jacks generally feed at twilight, relying on their keen eyesight to spot their prey in the fading light.  They are roving predators, which patrol while swimming near the surface or at mid-water, lunging mainly at small fishes. They also feed on benthic, rocky dweller fishes, shrimps, and other invertebrates.


Caranx latus are pelagic schoolers that  usually form  groups in offshore reefs.


Spawning occurs in the water column where eggs released by the female are fertilized. Larvae enter the pelagic stage after the eggs hatch until they are large enough to settle downward in the water column. The juveniles live along the shore in sandy or muddy areas, and reach sexual maturity at between 40 and 50 centimeters in length.

Conservation Status

The horse-eye jack is not classified as a species at risk.

References and Further Reading



McGinley, M. (2011). Horse-eye jack. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/153554


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