The barracuda is a ray-finned fish known for its large size and fearsome appearance. Its body is long, fairly compressed and covered with small smooth scales. Some species may reach up to 1.8 m long and 30 cm wide. The barracuda is a saltwater fish of the genus Sphyraena, genus Sphyraenidae only in the family and is found in tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide.
Barracudas are elongated fish, pike, as in appearance, with prominent sharp teeth like fangs, much like the piranhas, which are all different sizes that are set in sockets of their large jaws. They have large heads with a needle pointed in many species. Their lids are no spines and are covered with small scales. Their two dorsal fins are widely separated by the anterior fin with five spines, posterior fin with spine and nine soft rays. The posterior dorsal fin is similar in size to the anal fin and is over. The lateral line is prominent and extends straight from head to tail. The spiny dorsal fin is placed above the pelvic fins and is usually back in a groove. The caudal fin is moderately forked with its double-curved rear edge and is attached to the end of a peduncle robust. The pectoral fins are placed low on the sides. Their swim bladder is large.
In most cases, they are dark green, dark blue or gray on their upper body with silvery sides and belly of a chalky white. Coloration varies somewhat between species. For some species, there are irregular black spots or a row of dark transverse bars on each side. Their fins may be yellowish or dark. Barracudas live mainly in the oceans, but some species such as the Great Barracuda lives in brackish water.
Like sharks, some species of barracuda are known to be dangerous to swimmers. Barracudas are scavengers and can mislead the divers for the large predators, following them in the hope of eating the remains of their prey. Swimmers have been reported being bitten by barracuda, but such incidents are rare and possibly caused by poor visibility. Barracuda generally avoid the muddy shallows, then attacks in the surf are more likely to be by small sharks. Barracudas can confuse things that shine and reflections of prey. There was one reported incident of a barracuda jumping out of the water and wounding a kayaker but it is believed that the fish was a houndfish.
Handfeeding or touching large barracuda generally be avoided. Spearfishing around barracudas can also be dangerous because they are quite capable of tearing a piece of a thrashing fish on a spear wounded.
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