Physical Description

  • Fish with aerodynamic, streamlined body shape, like a torpedo.
  • They have a very long pointed snout, that is half of their head length.
  • They may grow to over 180 pounds in weight and seven feet long.
  • They have steel blue coloration on top and pale blue coloration on bottom.
  • When excited or hunting, they can flash different colors or display and hide the dark vertical bars on their sides.


  • Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, in tropical and subtropical waters.
  • Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas.
  • Rare in California, but more commonly encountered in warm water years.


  • They live throughout the open ocean.
  • They often associate with banks, pinnacles, floating debris, and buoys.


  • They are mature at about 1 year old, which is about 2.8 feet long for males and 3.3 feet long for females.
  • They spawn multiple times throughout the spawning season.
  • A female releases 500,000 to 45,000,000 eggs per spawning season!


  • Schooling fishes, pelagic squid.
  • They have no gill rakers, so they cannot prey on smaller animals.


  • Only the largest ocean predators, like pelagic sharks and billfishes.

Interesting Facts

  • In Hawaii, this fish is commonly on menus as Ono, meaning “good to eat.”
  • Early maps of European explorers’ maps of Hawaii often spelled Oahu “Wahoo”, which is noted for its high ono population, and that is thought to be the origin of the wahoo name.
  • One of the open ocean’s fastest fishes, they can swim up to 48 miles per hour!

Sources:; Oceana;; Ben Frable, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; NOAA Fisheries

Photo: Matthew Meier