Sphyraena / Barracudas

The family Barracudas or also known as Sphyraena (Sphyraenidae) are a group of species belonging to the order Perciformes. They are distributed throughout the tropical seas, the Mediterranean and the western Atlantic. The main characteristic of the family is that their body is quite elongated and hydrodynamic, with a very large mouth, provided with large and robust teeth. Its lateral line is very developed. Some species can reach 1.8 meters in length, as is the case of Sphyraena Sphyraena, while smaller species reach 45 cm in length in adult stages. In most Barracudas species, the body is dark grey, dark green, white or blue on the top, with silver sides and a white belly. Coloration varies somewhat among species. Some species have irregular, unorganized black spots on both flanks or a row of darker crossbars.

Barracudas have two dorsal fins, widely separated from each other. The first is formed by 5 spines and is usually found retracted in a groove at the base. The second dorsal fin has 1 spine followed by 9 spokes. This second dorsal fin is similar in size to the anal fin and is also located at the same height. The pectoral fins are located below the lateral line. Pelvic fins are located in a plane behind the pectoral fins and approximately opposite the first dorsal fin.

Although Barracudas tend to be solitary species, especially adult individuals, it is not uncommon to see them form large schools of individuals, sometimes swimming in circles. They are extremely fast fish at short distances, which they take advantage of to hunt their prey, among which we find mainly other fish. Attacks by Barracudas on humans have been documented and, in fact, certain regions of the world are more feared than sharks. The family of Barracudas is composed of a single genus in which we find 27 species.