Barracudas

Barracudas

Bony Fish

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

COMMON NAME: barracuda, cuda
KINGDOM: Animalia
PHYLUM: Chordata
CLASS: Osteichthyes
ORDER: Perciformes
FAMILY: Sphyraenidae
GENUS SPECIES: Sphyraena spp. (18 species)

FAST FACTS

DESCRIPTION: Barracudas are muscular fish with streamlined, torpedo-shaped bodies. They are equipped with an impressive set of razor-sharp teeth. The lower jaw juts out past the upper jaw and both are filled with dozens of teeth.
SIZE: Many members of this family are small and harmless to humans. The northern barracuda (Sphyraena borealis), for example, lives along the U.S. Atlantic coast from Cape Cod to Florida and only grows to roughly 46 cm (18 in.) in length. The largest species, the great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda), can grow up to 3 m (10 ft.) in length.
FEMALE In general, females grow to be larger than males.
WEIGHT: No data
DIET: Smaller fish
INCUBATION: Oviparous (egg laying); spawn in schools
SEXUAL MATURITY: No data
LIFE SPAN: No data
RANGE: The great barracuda is found in all temperate and tropical waters except the eastern Pacific Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea
HABITAT: No data
POPULATION: GLOBAL No data
STATUS: IUCN Not listed
CITES Not listed
USFWS Not listed

FUN FACTS

1. Some of the teeth of the great barracuda point backwards to prevent slippery fish from escaping once they are seized.
2. Barracudas hunt more by sight than smell; a fact that may lead to unfortunate attacks on human divers. Barracudas are attracted to shiny objects, like the silvery fish they prey on. Humans that enter the water with glittering objects, such as watches and jewelry, may cause curious barracudas to investigate and mistake these objects for a food source. The number of attacks on humans is probably overstated, but divers that enter the water where barracuda are present should remove shiny objects as a precaution.
3. Interestingly, ingesting barracuda is considerably more harmful to humans than eating any other fish species. People often become ill from ciguatera fish poisoning after ingesting barracudas, perhaps because the reef fish that barracudas eat themselves consume algae that may contain high levels of the toxin.
4. For more information about bony fishes, explore the Bony Fishes InfoBook.

ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

Many species of barracuda are classified as game fish and are considered of minor commercial importance.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Andrews, A., Parham, D. and W. Street. Bony Fishes. SeaWorld Education Department Publication. San Diego, SeaWorld, Inc. 1995.

Burgess, W. and H.R. Axelrod. Pacific Marine Fishes. Book 4. Neptune City, NJ. T.F.H. Publications, Inc. Ltd. 1974.

Eschmeyer, W.N., Herald, E.S. and H. Hammann. Peterson Field Guide to Pacific Coast Fishes. New York. Houghton Mifflin Co. 1983.

dfg.ca.gov/mrd/fishid.html

fishbase.org