Barracudas are marine ray-finned fishes. You can find them in most of the world’s warm water oceans. They are often seen prowling areas of knee-high shallow coral reefs – but also at depths down to 100 metres.
Most of the twenty different barracuda species ‘Sphyraena’ live in oceans. But, in fact you can find the Great Barracuda in brackish or briny water (less salinity than seawater).
The vast majority of the genus have a long compressed silvery body, almost snake-like in shape. The barracuda species have small, but smooth, scales on their chalky-white belly.
Facts About Barracuda Teeth
Barracuda fish teeth are sharp-edged and fang-like. They are not dissimilar to the prominent teeth of piranha fishes.
Barracudas have an arrow-like pointed head and a fork-shaped tail fin. Their upper body can be black, brown, or blue-gray scales with a white underbelly.
Although the head is long and pointed, many barracuda species have an ‘underbite’. Their gill covers are spineless.
They have two dorsal fins separated wide apart, which is unusual for a fish, and its anterior fin has five spines. The large spinous posterior dorsal fin has one spine with nine soft rays attached, situated above the fish’s anal fin.
The barracuda lateral line is prominent. It extends in a straight line running from its head to its tail. The forked caudal fin is set at the end of a stout peduncle. You will see their pectoral fins located low on the sides of its trunk-like body and they have a huge swim bladder.
Barracuda Fish Facts Behavior
Barracudas tend to be solitary fish, but a school of them will often hunt together. The collective noun for a large group is a ‘battery of barracudas’.
Nonetheless, large solitary barracuda are active hunters. In fact, they will attack humans – unprovoked.
Even so, barracuda fish species tend to display a nocturnal behavior. They are usually much livelier during the dark hours of the night.
They mate in the spring time and the female barracuda will release over 1,000 eggs into the water. Despite this high number, only a few fertilized eggs will survive to adulthood.
Barracuda meat is a delicacy in many countries, causing a major threat to its survival. Scientists have not yet included barracudas in the list of endangered species (at the time of writing).
Most barracuda fishes eat other small vertebrates – such as damselfishes. They also feed on boneless invertebrate mollusks such as octopuses, and crustaceans (e.g. shrimps and lobsters).
Interesting Facts about Barracuda Fish
- Large barracuda can reach more than two (2) metres in length and weigh up to fifty (50) kilos.
- Most barracudas can swim very fast – around forty (40) kilometers per hour. Even so, whales and large sharks will eat them as prey.
- Barracudas have dagger-like, razor sharp teeth to prevent losing its prey.
- Shiny fish with silver or golden scales attract barracuda as a source of food.
- Their favorite diet is snappers, mullets, groupers, and anchovies. They will also settle for an occasional feed on crustaceans and squid.
- The number of rings on the scales relates to a barracuda’s age and they often live up to fifteen (15) years in the wild.
Pictures of Barracuda Fish: The Great Oceanic Barracuda and some Chevron Barracuda.
Note: The saltwater fish species section has further information. Check out other marine life found in the shallow waters and around coral islands.