Sea creature of the week!

Dec 12 2011

Great Barracuda

Scientific Name: Sphyraena barracuda

Family: Sphyraenidae

Home: This aggressive marine predator can primarily be spotted at or near the surface of the ocean. The juveniles tend to hang out in mangroves, shallow sheltered inner reef areas and estuaries while the adults venture further out to the open seas. The Great Barracuda is native to subtropical and tropical waters of the Red Sea, the Indo-Pacific region extending from the eastern coast of Africa to the coast of Hawaii as well as to the Eastern and Western Atlantic regions (including the Caribbean Sea).

Characteristics: The Great Barracuda resembles a torpedo with its large pointed head and elongated body. It can reach a length of 6ft and can weigh up to 100 lbs. Its large mouth possesses strong and jagged fang-like teeth. This formidable predator has an extremely powerful jaw with the lower portion sticking out beyond the upper. The coloration of the Great Barracuda ranges from dark green to a silvery blue, often darker lines and blotches cover the sides of its body.

Food: The Great barracuda is a ravenous predator and highly skilled marine hunter. This fearsome creature feeds primarily on fish and cephalopods while occasionally gorging on shrimp.  It utilizes a lie-in-wait or ambush technique to catch its prey. The element of surprise, its relatively fast bursts of speed (up to 27 mph), powerful jaw and  razor-sharp teeth are all contributing factors to Great Barracuda’s success in its quest for food.

Fun Facts:

• Consuming Barracuda meat (even in small amounts) can result in ciguatera food poisoning, a toxin which accumulates from the fish it feeds on!

• When diving in Barracuda infested waters avoid wearing any shiny jeweler since this predator may mistake the glimmer of your watch or ring as its dinner!

• At times, a small group of these fish who are full from their previous meal will stalk a school of prey fish until they are ready for their next feeding!

Leave a Reply