Known by several other names including bigeye jack, bigeye trevally and six-banded trevally, this large edible species is found throughout the tropical Indian and Pacific oceans from South Africa to Ecuador. Bigeye kingfish are
typically seen in large schools, and favour inshore waters with depths of less than 100 metres. They can be identified from other kingfish species by their dorsal fin, which is tipped with white and noticeably darker than the pale silver of their bodies. Bigeye kingfish are nocturnal hunters, subsisting mainly on crustaceans as juveniles before progressing onto a fish-based diet upon reaching maturity. They are a relatively large species, with a maximum weight of around 18 kg.
This spectacular species is found throughout the tropical Indian and Pacific oceans, and is known by several other names including bluefin jack, bluefin trevally and blue ulua. Bluefin kingfish are easily distinguished by their dazzling electric blue fins, numerous blue and black
spots, and the contrasting green-gold sheen of their bodies. They spend the early stages of their life sheltering in inshore reefs and estuaries, moving into deeper water as they get older. The largest known bluefin kingfish measured 117 cm and weighed in at an impressive 43.5 kg. They are adept predators with a varied repertoire of hunting techniques which they use to prey mostly on fish, cephalopods and crustaceans.
Also known as the blackbanded trevally or blackbanded amberjack, the black-banded kingfish is widespread throughout the Indo-West Pacific from South Africa to Sri Lanka. It is usually found at depths of between 20 and 150 metres,
and favours rocky offshore reefs. Juveniles sometimes seek shelter beneath floating weed rafts. The black-banded kingfish feeds on prawns, cephalopods and bottom-dwelling fish and reaches a maximum total length of 70 centimetres. Adults have been associated with large planktivores (like whale sharks and manta rays). They are bluish grey or black dorsally, with five to seven darker bands or blotches that fade with age. Although this species is targeted by commercial fisheries, it is considered stable and classified as Least Concern.
The blacktip trevally occurs throughout the Indo-West Pacific from the shores of East Africa to Fiji and northern Australia. With a depth range of 5 – 80 metres, it is usually found in clear coastal waters and typically avoids murky areas. Adults form small aggregations
over rocky reefs and are non-migratory. The largest blacktip trevally on record had a total length of 88 centimetres. This species feeds on fish and crustaceans, and has an oblong, compressed body shape. It is dark bronze on top and silvery bronze or yellow on the flank, with yellow fins and a distinctive black-tipped tail fin. Considered an excellent food fish, the blacktip trevally is targeted by artisanal and recreational fishermen but retains a Least Concern classification on the IUCN Red List.
Sometimes known as the Papuan trevally, the brassy trevally is both widespread and common in the Indo-West Pacific. In Africa, it is found from Tanzania to South Africa and inhabits lagoons, estuaries and seaward reefs. In particular, juveniles seek protection from large predators in
estuarine environments. Brassy trevallies occur singly or in schools, and feed primarily on other fishes. This species has a maximum total length of 88 centimetres, and is typically brassy on top and silver on the side, with a scattering of dark spots that become more numerous with age. Brassy trevallies are best identified by the silver-white spot at the top of their gill opening, and by the narrow white border on the lower lobe of their tail fin. Their conservation status is Least Concern.
Found in tropical marine waters all over the world, the longfin kingfish is known by many different names, including longfin yellowtail, Almaco amberjack, rock salmon and silvercoat jack. It is mostly pelagic and rarely found inshore; however, it has a recorded depth range
of 3 – 250 metres. Longfin kingfish eggs drift on open ocean currents, and their young often seek the shelter of floating objects. Adults form small groups on outer reef slopes and offshore banks. This species preys predominantly on other fish and invertebrates, and has a record total length of 119 centimetres. It is silvery yellow in colour, with dusky, sharply pointed fins and a distinctive horizontal black stripe extending from the eye to the base of the dorsal fin. The global population is considered stable.
Found throughout the Indo-West Pacific, the giant trevally is targeted by recreational fishermen but nevertheless classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. A pelagic species, it can thrive in a number of different habitats, including coral reefs, reef channels, inshore sand flats and open
ocean. Juveniles are often found in estuaries. Giant trevallies are nocturnal hunters and feed on fish and crustaceans. They reach a total length of 170 centimetres, and are silver in colour with a sprinkling of small dark spots. Like many trevally species, they have a steep forehead, a down-turned mouth and a pronounced lateral line. Giant trevallies form spawning aggregations and may live to at least 20 years of age (although one captive specimen reached the grand old age of 30).
Other Kingfish, Jacks & Amberjacks found on our reef
African maasbanker – Trachurus capensis
Coastal Kingfish – Carangoides coeru/eopinnotus
Indian Scad – Decapterus russelli
Mackeral Scad – Decapterus macarellus
Pilot Fish – Naucrates ductor
Rainbow Runner – Elagatis bipinnulata
Shrimp Scad – Alepes djedaba
Torpedo Scad – Megalaspis cordyla
Yellowspotted Trevally – Carangoides fulvoguttatus