The barracuda is highly evolved to be a master predator in its environment—the fish has been developing its skills for 50 million years!
Amazing Facts About the Barracuda
- The barracuda is a large species of fish found in the warmer, coastal regions of the world’s oceans.
- There are more than 20 different species of barracuda that range in size from less than 50cm to nearly 2 meters in length.
- Regardless of the species, all barracuda have a similar elongated appearance, with a pointed head and powerful jaws, containing rows of sharp fang-like teeth used for eating larger prey.
- The upper part of their body is covered with scales that can be black, brown, grey or blue in color. The belly is always white. Irregular dark spots are located on both sides of the body.
- The barracuda’s diet consists of different types of fish: groupers, anchovies, mullets, snappers and sometimes squids and crustaceans.
- Shiny objects attract the barracuda’s attention. Because of that, they usually hunt fish with golden or silver scales. Divers might be wise to avoid wearing jewellery in their presence!
- Barracuda can swim at 25 miles per hour which is useful both for hunting and for escaping from predators such as killer whales and sharks.
- Generally, adult barracudas are considered to be solitary when it comes to hunting, though young barracudas tend to gather in large ‘schools’, sometimes in hundreds or even thousands. Schooling offers the young fish protection from predators on the basis of safety in numbers.
- Often, when a predator attacks a school, the school will form a confusing ‘tornado’, preventing any one barracuda being fixed upon as prey in the eyes of the predator.
- Mating season takes place in the spring. Males and females release eggs and sperm cells in the water where they will combine to form fertilized eggs. Females produce and release more than 1000 eggs but few survive to adulthood.
- Human beings pose the greatest danger to barracudas. In addition to habitat destruction, climate change and pollution, they are also being threatened by ‘sport’ fishing.
- Type: Fish
- Diet: Carnivore
- Lifespan: 10-15 years
- Size: 0.5m - 2m
- Habitat: Coastal lagoons and coral reefs
- Range: Oceans worldwide especially tropical regions
- Scientific name: Sphyraena