The blue runner is a pelagic, schooling species found throughout the Atlantic, often in shallow waters, close to shore, in both marine and brackish environments. It feeds on smaller fishes and various invertebrates and is itself an important prey species for larger predators, including barracuda, cobia, king mackerel, bluefish and tuna. This species is also caught for food and for use as bait by sport fishermen.
  • Size

    12 inches (30 cm) or less
  • Diet

    Fish, shrimp, and other invertebrates
  • Range

    Western Atlantic from Nova Scotia to Brazil. Eastern Atlantic from Senegal to Angola
  • Habitat

    Not far from the coast in water depths from near-surface to 330 feet (100 m)

Physical Characteristics


  • Average length of 12 inches (30 cm) or less. Maximum lengths of 28 inches (70 cm) and weigh 11 lbs. (5 kg).


  • The coloration of the blue runner is variable. It can be dark black, bluish-green or olive green on the back and dark gray to golden to silvery on the belly.
  • Has a conspicuous black spot on the upper edge of the gill cover (operculum).


Animal Fact

The blue runner spawns offshore from January to August. Juveniles are often associated with large masses of floating Sargassum seaweed.

Diet / Feeding

  • Diet consists of fish, shrimp, and other invertebrates.


Range / Habitat


  • Occurs in the Western Atlantic from Nova Scotia to Brazil; the Bahamas, the Gulf of Mexico and throughout the Caribbean, including the Antilles.
  • In the Eastern Atlantic it ranges from Senegal to Angola, including the western Mediterranean, St. Paul’s Rocks and Ascension Island.


  • Found not far from the coast in water depths from near-surface to 330 feet (100 m).
  • Juvenile associates with floating seaweed (Sargassum).

Reproduction & Growth

  • Spawns offshore from January through August.
  • Eggs are pelagic – dispersed in open ocean.

Conservation Status

  • “Not Evaluated” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Schooling species.
  • Member of the jack family, Carangidae, and is very similar to the green jack, C. caballus, that occurs in the eastern Pacific.
  • Congregates around oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico in numbers reaching the tens of thousands.
  • Important forage species for larger predators such as barracuda, cobia, king mackerel, billfish and tuna.
  • Often used by sport fishermen as bait for catching large predator species with rod and reel.


  • McClane’s Field Guide to Saltwater Fishes of North America. McClane, A. J., pg. 224
  • Angler’s Guide to Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico. Horst, J.; Lane, M. and Raver, D., pgs. 196-197.
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