Friday, September 14, 2012

Great Barracuda

Sphyraena barracuda
The Great, or Giant, Barracuda is a very slender fish that can grow to lengths of 6ft (though the average is around 3.5). They swim in the warm, tropical and subtropical ocean waters of the world, typically living near shore but sometimes also venturing to the open ocean.

The species can be identified by their long torpedo-like bodies, their large eyes, and their doubled-notched tail fin. Their upper scales range from grey, to green, to blue, and their undersides are more pale. Sometimes they have dark spots on their sides as well.

Great Barracudas are solitary swimmers, a lifestyle that works well for their preferred method of hunting. They lie and wait, and then ambush their prey with bursts of incredible speed. For short distances this predator can move up to 36mph (58kph). They feed on all sorts of fish species, and can bite larger fish in half with ease, thanks to their large mouths.

Barracudas can be dangerous to humans, but attacks are rare and usually a misunderstanding on the part of the fish. They sometimes mistake shiny objects (like parts on a diver suit) for other fish, and erroneously attack. There have only been a handful of reported deaths.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Tropical and Subtropical Oceans
Size : Length up to 6ft (1.8m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Actinopterygii -- Order : Perciformes
Family : Sphyraenidae -- Genus : Sphyraena -- Species : S. barracuda

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