Known the world over and even featured in songs, this barracuda species Sphyraena Sphyraena inhabits the waters of the Mediterranean! Their elongated body and long jaw with the lower jaw projecting containing sharp canine like teeth! Typically reaching 30-60cm long but has been caught to a length of 160cm! Its scaled skin is dark from above and silvery from below with no apparent cross bars visible! This is one of 26 species of Barracuda, together with Sphyraena Obturata and Sphyraena Viridensis are also found in Mediterranean waters in lesser extent and also in the Black Sea!
The European Barracuda is a pelagic species with a depth range of 50m. It is found in coastal and off-shore waters!
They are opportunistic predators relying on ambush tactics to catch their prey using short bursts of lightning speed of up to 43km/h to pounce on their prey! They have been known to attack fish as big as themselves in which case they tear off chunks to eat their catch instead of devouring it whole! Although mainly consuming fish, they have been known to eat cephalopods and crustaceans.
They reproduce in warm months depositing their eggs at the end of spring or start of summer! The eggs are left unattended. The larva seek shelter in river mouths or calm waters with readily available food entering the open sea when they reach 5cm in length. Adults of the species tend to be solitary while the young tend to form schools.
Hand feeding barracudas is to be avoided. Rings or other shiny objects (nice shiny D-rings) have been known to catch the their eye resembling prey. Caution is a must especially in murky or low visibility water where the fish might make errors in judgement more often! Larger fish such as the Great Barracuda has been known to cause ciguatera food poisoning in some cases.