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Sphyraena barracuda (Edwards, 1771)
Akerstrom's Sea-pike; Dingo-fish; Giant Barracuda; Giant Sea-pike; Small-eyed Barracuda; Agrioposphyraena akerstromi Whitley, 1947; Agrioposphyraena barracuda Walbaum, 1792; Agrioposphyraena microps Marshall, 1953; Esox barracuda Walbaum, 1792; Sphyraena akerstromi Whitley, 1947; Sphyraena commersonii Cuvier, 1829; Sphyraena microps Marshall, 1953; Esox barracuda Edwards, 1771

Life   Vertebrata   Fish   Sphyraenidae   Sphyraena

Sphyraena barracuda
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Sphyraena barracuda

Click on map for details about points.


Main identification features
  • ~20 dark bars + scattered black blotches
  • 2nd dorsal fin anal fin c: dark, white tips
  • c: lobes in center
  • lateral line has 75-85 scales
Body elongate, cylindrical, robust; long head with long, pointed snout; mouth large, horizontal, lower jaw longer; jaws and roof of mouth with large, pointed, erect, compressed teeth; two well separated dorsal fins, first with V spines, second with 8 rays; anal 8 rays; pectoral 11-13 rays; tail forked, with central lobes, particularly in large fish; origin of pelvic fins under pectoral, before dorsal fin; lateral line complete, straight; scales smooth; 75-85 lateral line scales.

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

Size: 200 cm.

Habitat: coastal and oceanic, nearbottom to surface.

Depth: 0-25 m.

Atlantic and Indo-central Pacific; vagrant at the Galapagos and western Panama.

Abundance: Common.
Cites: Not listed.
Climate Zone: Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo).
Depth Range Max: 25 m.
Depth Range Min: 0 m.
Diet: bony fishes; octopus/squid/cuttlefish; Pelagic crustacea.
Eastern Pacific Range: Northern limit=9; Southern limit=-2; Western limit=-93; Eastern limit=-82; Latitudinal range=11; Longitudinal range=11.
Egg Type: Pelagic; Pelagic larva.
Feeding Group: Carnivore.
FishBase Habitat: Pelagic.
Global Endemism: Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans); East Pacific + Atlantic (East +/or West); Transisthmian (East Pacific + Atlantic of Central America); East Pacific + all Atlantic (East+West); All Pacific (West + Central + East); TEP non-endemic; "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific); All species.
Habitat: Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom); Water column; Estuary; Mangrove.
Inshore Offshore: Inshore; Inshore Only.
IUCN Red List: Not evaluated / Listed.
Length Max: 200 cm.
Regional Endemism: Continent; Island (s); Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic; Eastern Pacific non-endemic; Continent + Island (s); All species.
Residency: Vagrant.
Salinity: Brackish; Marine.
Water Column Position: Mid Water; Near Bottom; Near Surface; Water column only;

Scientific source:

Links to other sites

  • Castro-Aguirre, J.L., 1999., Ictiofauna estuarino-lagunar y vicaria de Mxico., Editorial Limusa S.A. de C.V.: 1-629pp.
  • Edwards., 1771., Appendix. In Catesby, M. ed. The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands; containing the figures of birds, beasts, fishes, serpents ... with their descriptions in English and French, etc. 3rd. ed. 2 vols., Appendix 20pp.
  • Fowler, H.W., 1916., Cold-Blooded Vertebrates from Costa Rica and the Canal Zone., Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila., 68:389-414.
  • Gnther, A., 1864., On some new species of Central American fishes., Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 14:227-232.
  • Meek , S.E. and Hildebrand, S.F., 1923., The marine fishes of Panama. Part I., Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Zool. Ser. Publ., XV:1-330.
  • Smith , M. M. and Heemstra, P., 1986., Smith's Sea Fishes. Johannesburg: Macmillan South Africa. 1047 pp., Macmillan South Africa:1047pp.
  • Walbaum, J. J., 1792., Petri Artedi Sueci Genera piscium. In quibus systema totum ichthyologiae proponitur cum classibus, ordinibus, generum characteribus, specierum differentiis, observationibus plurimis. Redactis speciebus 242 ad genera 52. Ichthyologiae, pars iii., Artedi Piscium, (Pt. 3):1-723.


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Following modified from Australian Faunal Directory
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Following modified from Taiwan Biodiversity National Information Network
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Kingdom Animalia  
 Phylum Chordata  
 Class Actinopterygii  
 Order Perciformes  
 Family Sphyraenidae  
 Genus Sphyraena  
  Sphyraena barracuda    (Edwards, 1771) 
Provider: Kwang-Tsao Shao 
hierarchy tree    download xml    download txt    Chinese Page    
Synonyms: Agrioposphyraena barracuda Esox barracuda Sphyraena baracuda Sphyraena becuna Sphyraena commersonii Sphyraena dussumieri Sphyraena picuda Sphyraena sphyraena picuda Syphyraena barracuda   details
Citation: 臺灣魚類誌(沈等, 1993); The Live Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific, Vol.6(FAO, 2001)
Character: Body elongate, subcylindrical or slightly compressed. Head long, pointed, scaly on sides and posteriorly on top. Mouth nearly horizontal, large. Jaws elongate, the lower one considerably projecting; large, sharp, flattened or conical teeth of unequal size on jaws and palatines; usually 1 or 2 strong, sharp canines near tip of lower jaw. Maxilla reaching to or a little beyond anterior margin of eye. No gill rakers on first gill arch. Two short dorsal fins, widely separated; the first with V strong spines inserted about opposite to or behind pelvic fins; the second with I spine and 9 soft rays; anal fin with II spines and 7 or 8 soft rays; origin of pelvic fins before first dorsal-fin origin; caudal fin with a pair of large lobes at posterior margin, except in young less than 50 cm total length which have a forked caudal fin.. Lateral-line scales 75 to 87. Many oblique dark bars on upper half of body, these not across lateral line; caudal fin black with white tips; some black blotches sometimes present on underside of posterior body. Juveniles with a series of large dark blotches irregularly arranged on sides of body. 
Habitat: Found predominantly at or near the surface. Juveniles occur among mangroves, estuaries and shallow sheltered inner reef areas; adults occur in a wide range of habitats from murky inner harbors to open seas. Diurnal and solitary, but can also be found in s 
Distribution: Widespread in all tropical seas of the world except the eastern Pacific Ocean; north to southern Japan. It is a very common species in Taiwan, especially in southern part. 
Utility: Sold fresh. Utilized also dried or salted. 
Name Code: 382645
  IUCN Red List:LC       Marine     
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Number of matches : 10
Query: SELECT * FROM img WHERE ready=1 and taxon like "Sphyraena barracuda%" and (lifeform != "specimen_tag" OR lifeform != "Animal") ORDER BY taxon

Click on the thumbnail to see an enlargement

Sphyraena barracuda
Sphyraena barracuda
Great Barracuda
ID: 0000 0000 0203 0307 [detail]
© 2003 Joseph Dougherty/

Sphyraena barracuda
UCMP specimen card
ID: 2222 0904 0014 0085 [detail]
© University of California Museum of Paleontology

Sphyraena barracuda
Sphyraena barracuda
Great Barracuda (juvenile)
ID: 0000 0000 0406 1546 [detail]
© 2006 Joseph Dougherty/

Sphyraena barracuda
Sphyraena barracuda
Great Barracuda (juvenile)
ID: 0000 0000 0406 1547 [detail]
© 2006 Joseph Dougherty/

Sphyraena barracuda
Sphyraena barracuda
Great Barracuda (juvenile)
ID: 0000 0000 0406 1548 [detail]
© 2006 Joseph Dougherty/

Sphyraena barracuda
Sphyraena barracuda
Great Barracuda
ID: 0000 0000 1112 1665 [detail]
© 2012 Douglas Klug

Sphyraena barracuda
Sphyraena barracuda
Great Barracuda
ID: 0000 0000 1112 1664 [detail]
© 2012 Douglas Klug

Sphyraena barracuda
Sphyraena barracuda
Great Barracuda
ID: 0000 0000 1112 1663 [detail]
© 2012 Douglas Klug

Sphyraena barracuda
Sphyraena barracuda
Great Barracuda
ID: 0000 0000 1112 1662 [detail]
© 2012 Douglas Klug

Sphyraena barracuda
Sphyraena barracuda
Great Barracuda
(shown with Cleaner shrimp )
ID: 0000 0000 0313 3007 [detail]
© 2013 Scott Trageser

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Common name (e.g. trout)

Genus + Species (e.g. Gadus morhua)

Sphyraena barracuda (Edwards , 1771)

Great barracuda Add your observation in Fish Watcher
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Pictures | Videos |     Stamps, Coins Misc. | Google image Image of Sphyraena barracuda (Great barracuda) Sphyraena barracuda
Picture by Patzner, R.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes ( gen. , sp. ) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes (Perch-likes) > Sphyraenidae (Barracudas)
Etymology: Sphyraena: Greek, sphyraina, -es = the name of a fish (Ref. 45335 ) .

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Marine; brackish; reef-associated; depth range 1 - 100 m (Ref. 6949 ), usually 3 - 30 m (Ref. 40849 ).   Subtropical; 42°N - 35°S, 180°W - 180°E (Ref. 55300 )

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and east coast of Africa to Hawaii and the Marquesas and Tuamoto islands. Western Atlantic: Massachusetts (USA), Bermuda, and throughout the Caribbean Sea to Brazil (Ref. 9626 ). Eastern Atlantic: Sierra Leone, Côte d'Ivoire, Togo, Nigeria, Senegal (Ref. 6949 ), Mauritania (Ref. 5377 ), St. Paul's Rocks (Ref. 13121 ), and São Tomé Island (Ref. 34088 ).

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: L m 66.0 , range 58 - ? cm
Max length : 200 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 7251 ); common length : 140 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3692 ); max. published weight: 50.0 kg (Ref. 6949 )

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 6; Dorsal soft rays (total): 9; Anal spines : 2; Anal soft rays : 8. This species is distinguished by the following characters: a large body, large eyes; body depth 6.0-8.2 in SL; teeth erect and contiguous; no gill rakers on first gill arch, instead upper and lower gill arch with rough platelets which lack distinct spines; origin of first dorsal fin at level of the rear base of the pelvic fins; caudal fin emarginate with a pair of large lobes at posterior margin, except young less than 50 cm TL which have a forked caudal fin. Colour of body silvery; many oblique dark bars on upper half of body that do not across lateral line; caudal fin black with white tips; juveniles with a series of large dark blotches irregularly arranged on sides of body (Ref. 9768 , 90102 ).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Found predominantly at or near the surface (Ref. 6949 , 48637 ). Juvenile occurs among mangroves, estuaries and shallow sheltered inner reef areas; adult occurs in a wide range of habitats from murky inner harbors to open seas. Diurnal and solitary, but can also be found in small aggregations. Feeds on fishes, cephalopods and sometimes on shrimps (Ref. 9626 , 48637 ). Sold fresh. Utilized also dried or salted (Ref. 9987 ). Although this species is ciguatoxic elsewhere throughout its range, it has not been reported to be poisonous in the eastern Atlantic (Ref. 6949 , 48637 ). Rarely attacks humans, usually with one quick, fierce strike, which, although serious, is rarely fatal. The world's record on hook and line is a 5.5-ft. fish taken in the Bahamas that weighed 103 lbs. (Ref. 13442 ). Caught by handline, set nets, and other fishing gear (Ref. 9768 ).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Daget, J. , 1986. Sphyraenidae. p. 350-351. In J. Daget, J.-P. Gosse and D.F.E. Thys van den Audenaerde (eds.) Check-list of the freshwater fishes of Africa (CLOFFA). ISNB, Brussels; MRAC, Tervuren; and ORSTOM, Paris. Vol. 2. (Ref. 4339 )

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 120744 )

  Least Concern (LC)  ; Date assessed: 29 January 2013

CITES (Ref. 115941 )

Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361 )

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Traumatogenic (Ref. 4690 )

Human uses

Fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: public aquariums FAO(fisheries: production ; publication : search ) | FishSource | Sea Around Us

More information

FAO areas
Food items
Food consumption
Common names
Spawning aggregation
Egg development
Larval dynamics
Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins Misc.
Swim. type
Gill area


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Estimates of some properties based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969 ): 21.7 - 28.9, mean 27.2 (based on 2020 cells). Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805 ):  PD 50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high]. Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00912 (0.00750 - 0.01109), b=2.92 (2.88 - 2.96), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245 ). Trophic Level (Ref. 69278 ):  4.5   ±0.6 se; Based on diet studies. Resilience (Ref. 69278 ):  Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (K=0.09-0.11; tm=2-4). Prior r = 0.31, 95% CL = 0.20 - 0.48, Based on 2 stock assessments. Vulnerability (Ref. 59153 ):  Very high vulnerability (79 of 100) . Price category (Ref. 80766 ):   Medium .

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