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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

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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 MÚxico., 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.
  • GŘnther, 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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Sphyraena barracuda, Great barracuda : fisheries, gamefish, aquarium This page is sponsored by
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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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Sphyraena barracuda   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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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( genus , species ) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Teleostei (teleosts) > Carangaria/misc (Various families in series Carangaria) > 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, C├┤te d'Ivoire, Togo, Nigeria, Senegal (Ref. 6949 ), Mauritania (Ref. 5377 ), St. Paul's Rocks (Ref. 13121 ), and S├úo Tom├ę Island (Ref. 34088 ).

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: L m 66.0 , range 58 - 98.5 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 ); max. reported age: 18 years (Ref. 128046 )

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. 126983 )

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


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: landings ; 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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Summary page | Point data | Common names | Photos

Internet sources

AFORO (otoliths) | Aquatic Commons | BHL | Cloffa | BOLDSystems | Websites from users | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | Catalog of Fishes : genus , species | DiscoverLife | DORIS | ECOTOX | FAO - Fisheries: landings ; Publication: search | Faunafri | Fishipedia | Fishtrace | GenBank: genome , nucleotide | GloBI | GoMexSI (interaction data) | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | IGFA World Record | MitoFish | National databases | Otolith Atlas of Taiwan Fishes | Public aquariums | PubMed | Reef Life Survey | RFE Identification | Socotra Atlas | Tree of Life | Wikipedia: Go , Search | World Records Freshwater Fishing | Zoological Record

Estimates based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 123201 ): 21.7 - 28.9, mean 27.2 °C (based on 2020 cells). Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82804 ):  PD 50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high]. Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00851 (0.00710 - 0.01021), b=2.93 (2.89 - 2.97), 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. 120179 ):  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. Fishing Vulnerability (Ref. 59153 ):  Very high vulnerability (79 of 100). Climate Vulnerability (Ref. 125649 ):  Moderate to high vulnerability (52 of 100). Price category (Ref. 80766 ):   Medium . Nutrients (Ref. 124155 ):  Calcium = 5.57 [2.60, 15.19] mg/100g ; Iron = 0.229 [0.101, 0.480] mg/100g ; Protein = 21.2 [19.3, 22.9] % ; Omega3 = 0.124 [0.054, 0.274] g/100g ; Selenium = 21.4 [8.5, 52.9] ╬╝g/100g ; VitaminA = 18.1 [4.1, 117.9] ╬╝g/100g ; Zinc = 0.298 [0.187, 0.511] mg/100g (wet weight);

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