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Barracuda | Maldives Marine Life
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Maldives Marine Life

The barracuda, of the Sphyraena genus, is a-ray finned fish known for its large size and fearsome appearance.  The barracuda is a fierce-looking solitary predator that lives in tropical salt waters all around the world.

Barracuda Habitat

The barracuda fish tends to inhabit tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide, such as the Caribbean Sea and  the Indo-Pacific waters where the Maldives are located.

Barracuda fish are usually found at a standstill near the surface of the ocean, although they have been spotted at depths of around 100 meters.   Smaller juvenile specimens will often gather near shallow reefs while adults are more likely to venture into the open sea.


Large Barracuda

Barracuda Appearance

The Barracuda has a large pointed head and a long and fairly compressed body that is covered with small smooth scales.  They are elongated fish with prominent sharp teeth that come in various sizes and are set in sockets inside their large jaws.

They usually have a dark green or grey upper body with silvery sides and a white belly.  However, the coloration tends to vary depending of the species; some have irregular black spots or a row of darker cross-bars on each side.  The barracuda can grow quite large, reaching up to 1.8 meters in length and 30 cm in width.




Barracuda Diet

The barracuda is a voracious, opportunistic predator that relies on the element of surprise and short bursts of speed to catch its prey.  They can swim as fast as 28 miles per hour.  The Barracuda feeds primarily on shrimp and any number of other types of fish that live around the coral reefs.

The barracuda is somewhat of a solitary hunter, yet young barracudas often congregate in groups.  While most of the time they feed on small fish; barracudas sometimes feed on fish as large as themselves by tearing the fish apart.

Barracuda Behavior towards Scuba Divers

There are 27 different species of barracuda, some of which can be dangerous to humans and, in particular, scuba divers.   Barracudas sometimes mistake scuba divers for predators and follow them in the hopes of eating the remains of their prey.  Nevertheless, the barracuda very rarely attacks people.

To reduce the risk of an unlikely barracuda attack, scuba divers should remove all shiny jewellery or other shiny objects before going diving, since barracudas can mistake shiny things for prey.

Barracuda Reproduction

Little is known about the barracuda’s reproduction, but it is pretty clear that the spawning takes place during the spring time and the parent abandons the fertilized eggs and returns to life as a solitary fish.

Threats to the Barracuda

Barracudas are popular both as food and as game fish.  They are very often eaten as filets or steaks and some are used in soups, but they are not a threatened species thanks to their enviable position towards the top of the food chain.