Barracuda (Gozo & Malta)



Gozo & MaltaAtlantic Species

Common Name: Barracuda

Scientific Names: Sphyraena viridensis

Description: Shoals can contain fish from 30-90cm long. Larger solitary barracuda can be 1-1.8m in size. The smaller shoals of barracuda consist of long silvery fish, with very prominent eyes and jaws. They often have obvious and clear cross bars along the body. Shoals of the smaller fish are cryptic and blend in with their background over seagrass beds.

Distinctive Features: An elongate silvery body with prominent cross bars.

Abundance: As shoals and also larger individual fish. In certain years very common in the shallows over seagrass beds. There are sites where shoals of larger fish are known to occur. Not every dive or site.

Habitat & Behaviour: The shoals of smaller fish seem to be resting during the day and indifferent to shoals of small damsel fish and silversides nearby. They feed on these species in the water column and are top predators.

Reaction to Snorkellers & Divers: Very wary of snorkellers diving down from the surface; less wary of divers.

Other Notes: There is some uncertainty among scientists about the identity of the different species. The largest and usually solitary barracuda are S.sphyraena.

Text: Bob Earll
Photo: Russell & Gill Bennett
Video: Bob Earll & Julia Jagoditsc

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