The Great Barracuda – By Nikki Carnevale. Biological Classification Kingdom Animalia Phylum Chordata Subphylum Vertebrata Class Actinopterygii Order Perciformes Suborder Scombroidei Family Sphyraenidae Species Sphyraena barracuda. Geographical Distribution
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Species Sphyraena barracuda
The great barracuda lives in warm waters throughout the world, as shown by the red region in the map below. Because it lives in warmer waters it is most commonly found between longitudes 30 degrees north and 30 degrees south. The most populated area of barracudas is in the Western Atlantic from Massachusetts to Brazil, and also the Caribbean region and the Gulf of Mexico.
-Great barracudas commonly occur in near shore coral reefs, sea grasses, and mangroves.
-Most barracuda are solitary fish, although some groups who live out in the open ocean will stick together.
-Barracuda who live in the open ocean are pretty rare, and are never found below depths 325 feet. These barracuda usually come into the shallows at night to sleep.
The body is colored silver overall, with dark green to gray along the back. Blotches on the lower sides are variable in number, size, and position. The species reaches a length of 6 feet and a weight slightly greater than 100 pounds. The top of the head between the eyes is nearly flat and the mouth is large, containing many large sharp teeth and a projecting lower jaw. The reflective silver color found on some barracudas allows it to use sunlight as a way to confuse its prey.
Barracudas rarely attack humans, most attacks were cases of mistaken identity:
-The barracuda mistakes a hand or a foot as prey
-They attack shiny objects such as a bracelet or a watch on divers because the shiny objects look like small fish to the barracuda
-A lot of splashing may cause an attack because the barracuda thinks it’s struggling fish
-Very little is known about the spawning and reproduction of the great barracuda.
-It is believed that barracuda spawning is seasonal.
-It is thought that eggs are laid in deep water, where they ride the current and attach to grass beds.
-When they hatch they stay hidden in vegetation and bear no resemblance to adults until they reach about ½ inch.
-In the second year of their life, they move out into the open water
-Barracudas reach sexual maturity when they are about 2 feet long. (2 yrs for males, 4 yrs for females)