They are marine fishes found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Most species are fast-swimming predatory fishes that hunt in the waters above reefs and in the open sea; some dig in the sea floor for invertebrates.
The largest fish in the family, the greater amberjack, Seriola dumerili, grows up to 2 m in length; most fish in the family reach a maximum length of 25–100 cm.
The family contains many important commercial and game fish, notably the Pacific tunfisk, Trachurus symmetricus, and the other jack mackerels in the genus Trachurus.
Many genera have fairly extensive fossil records, particularly Caranx and Seriola, which extend into the early Paleogene (late Thanetian), and are known from whole and incomplete specimens, skeletal fragments, and otoliths. The several extinct genera include Archaeus, Pseudovomer, and Eastmanalepes.