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A Barracuda is a ray-finned fish popular for its long, snake-like body, sharp-edged teeth, and prominent jaw. It inhabits different oceans, but found commonly on coastal habitats. It is a carnivorous fish that is feared not only by smaller fishes, but also humans. A barracuda’s appearance varies based on species.
See the fact file below for more information on the Barracuda or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Barracuda worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The word “Barracuda” was derived from the Spanish word “barraco” meaning “overlapping tooth”.
- It belongs to the genus Sphyraena.
- Barracuda is physically classified as a ray-finned fish.
- It is a predaceous fish that resembles a snake in its form.
- Similar to a piranha, its fang-liked, sharp-edged teeth are one of its prominent features.
- Its teeth are set inside sockets on their jaw.
- The body is covered with small scales.
- Two dorsal fins are widely-separated across its body.
- The anterior fin of a Barracuda has five spines.
- Its posterior fin is the only one with nine soft rays.
- Commonly, a Barracuda’s upper body is colored dark-gray, dark green, white, or blue.
- Its side has a silvery tint and the belly could be described as a chalky-white color.
- A Barracuda’s coloration may vary from one species to another.
- Irregular or unorganized spots, marks, and cross-bars on the side of Barracuda’s body may occur.
- In terms of a Barracuda’s size, some species can grow up to 65 inches or 165 cm in length.
- Notable examples of large Barracudas are the Sphyraena sphyraena, found in the Mediterranean Sea and eastern Atlantic; and the Sphyraena picudilla, habitating the Atlantic coast of tropical America, from North Carolina to Brazil and reaching Bermuda.
- While Barracudas may differ from colour and species, their common features are the elongated form, pointed head, strong jaw, and row of sharp-edged teeth.
Habitat and Behavior
- While Barracudas are found widely in the Earth’s oceans, they are more frequently found in tropical regions due to their rich biodiversity, hence the abundance of food.
- Barracudas could be found in deep oceans yet they seem to prefer coastal habitats near coral reefs and along continental shelves.
- The Barracuda is notoriously known for being a dominant and aggressive predator.
- Hunting for fish up to its own size, the Barracuda uses its surprise tactics to hunt-down prey.
- Barracudas can swim in fast, in short-bursts with a speed up to 40 km/h.
- A Barracuda’s predacious behavior is considered opportunistic.
- While using surprise-tactics or ambush, it usually preys on smaller species of fish, such as jacks, grunts, groupers, snappers, small tunas, mullets, killifishes, herrings, and anchovies.
- Barracudas also prey on marine invertebrates, squid, and crustaceans like shrimp, krill, and small crabs.
- Since it is known that Barracudas can grow into large sizes, its predators are considerably few, and include whales, sharks, and humans.
- While it is still not clear how Barracudas mate and reproduce, female barracudas are observed to spawn during the spring.
- The female Barracuda then releases eggs into the ocean water.
- The egg by then would be fertilised externally.
- Many species of barracuda have no interest in caring for their offspring after spawning.
Harm from-and-to Humans?
- The Barracuda is hunted down by humans for food, and it is also popular as a game fish.
- In West Africa, it is commonly smoked and partnered with soups and sauces.
- Often compared to sharks, barracudas obtained a bad reputation from swimmers, divers, and other marine explorers due to the numerous barracuda attacks being reported.
- Since barracudas are known opportunistic scavengers, they might mistake a swimmer or a diver for large prey.
- One incident occurred when a barracuda jumped out of water to attack a kayaker.
- The conservation director of the International Game Fish Association said that the wound could have been caused by a houndfish.
- If snorkelers wear diving gear that reflects light underwater, the chances of a barracuda attack might be higher.
- Barracudas also mistake underwater objects that glint and shine for prey.
- Some Barracudas found in the Caribbean may cause poisoning when ingested.
- Ciguatera is a common type of fish poisoning prominent in parts of the Caribbean, although the conditions which cause the fishes to be toxic in the Caribbean waters is still unclear or unknown.
- The symptoms of Ciguatera poisoning may be developed and felt immediately after eating or 30 hours after consumption.
- Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, numbness, muscle pain, and general itchiness.
- Death is also a possibility, which is caused by respiratory paralysis.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Barracuda across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Barracuda worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Barracuda which is a ray-finned fish popular for its long, snake-like body, sharp-edged teeth, and prominent jaw. It inhabits different oceans, but found commonly on coastal habitats. It is a carnivorous fish that is feared not only by smaller fishes, but also humans. A barracuda’s appearance varies based on species.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Barracuda Facts
- The Best Bait
- Forming Words
- Missing Parts
- Coastal Collage
- Barracuda Blanks
- A Barracuda’s Diet
- Fish Sampling
- Barracuda Behavior
- Humans & Barracudas
- The Aggressive Barracuda
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Link will appear as Barracuda Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, March 25, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.