Barracuda is a saltwater fish known for its large size, fearsome appearance and ferocious behaviour.
There are 28 different species of barracuda.
They are found in tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide ranging from the eastern border of the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, on its western border the Caribbean Sea, and in tropical areas of the Pacific Ocean.
Barracudas reside near the top of the water and near coral reefs and sea grasses.
The maximum age of barracuda is unknown, but the typical lifespan may often exceed 14 years.
Swift and powerful, they are slender in form, with small scales, two well-separated dorsal fins, a jutting lower jaw, and a large mouth with many large, sharp teeth.
Size varies from rather small to 1.2–1.8 metres (4–6 feet) in the great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) of the Atlantic, Caribbean, and western Pacific.
In most cases, a barracuda is dark gray, dark green, white, or blue on its upper body, with silvery sides and a chalky-white belly. Coloration varies somewhat between species. For some species, irregular and unorganized black spots or a row of darker cross-bars occur on each side.
Barracudas are ferocious, opportunistic predators, relying on surprise and short bursts of speed, up to 43 km/h (27 mph), to overtake their prey.
They are nocturnal animals, active during the night.
Barracudas are carnivores. They feed on an array of prey including fish such as jacks, grunts, groupers, snappers, small tunas, mullets, killifishes, herrings, and anchovies by simply biting them in half. They also seem to consume smaller species of sustenance that are in front of them.
They prefer a solitary life, but sometimes gather in groups called schools. Schools provide safety and cooperative hunting opportunities.
Barracudas reproduced during the spring. They do not care for their fertilized eggs. They are left to drift out into the ocean and eventually take form. When the fish spawn they enter shallow waters such as estuaries. The larvae hatches and seeks shallow weedy areas on the margins of clear-water estuaries.
Barracuda are competitive species and often are seen competing against mackerel, needle fish and sometimes even dolphins for prey.
Barracudas don’t have many natural predators besides sharks and orca whales.
Like sharks, some species of barracuda are reputed to be dangerous to swimmers. But most often, barracudas attack only when provoked.
Barracudas are popular both as food and game fish. They are most often eaten as fillets or steaks.
Barracuda belongs to the genus Sphyraena, the only genus in the family Sphyraenidae which was named by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque in 1815.
They’ve been swimming around for 50 million years!
The barracuda is a minor but pivotal antagonist seen at the beginning of the 2003 Pixar film, Finding Nemo.