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Species: Sphyraena barracuda, Great Barracuda

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

~20 dark oblique bars + scattered black blotches
D2, A & C: dark + white tips
C: lobes in center
D2 & A last ray not elongate
top jaw reaches under eye
pectoral reaches over pelvic
pelvic inserts before D origin
LL 75-87

Sphyraena barracuda (Edwards, 1771)

Great Barracuda

Body elongate, robust, cylindrical at the front; head long with a long pointed snout; large protractile mouth with a distinctly protruding lower jaw; top jaw reaches to under eye; jaws and roof of mouth with many long sharp-edged teeth of unequal sizes; gill rakers present as 1-2 short spines or spiny plates at angle of gill arch; two widely separated dorsal fins (V + I, 8-10); anal fin small, II, 8, similar to and under 2nd dorsal; last rays of dorsal and anal fins not distinctly longer than rays just before them; pectorals, small reach to or beyond pelvic base and under origin of dorsal fin; pelvics I, 5, small, origin before origin of dorsal fin, about midway between tip of lower jaw and base of last anal fin ray; a forked tail with central lobes; small smooth scales, 75-87 on lateral line; a well-developed, straight lateral line.

Mid-grey above, paler below, ~ 20 oblique dark bars on back, extending below lateral line at rear in juveniles; body with scattered irregular black blotches; dorsals, tail and anal fin blackish, with white contrasting tips.

Size: 200 cm; current IGFA world record 39.6 kg.

Habitat: coastal and oceanic, nearbottom to surface.

Depth: 0-450 m.

Circumtropical; Massachusetts to Brazil.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Near Bottom
  • Near Surface
  • Water column only
  • Water column
  • Estuary
  • Mangrove
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Pelagic
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Pelagic crustacea
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continental primarily
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 200
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 450