Barracuda Family Photos and Information – Sphyraenidae

 The Barracuda Family – Sphyraenidae

Mexican Barracuda, Sphyraena ensis, a representative member of the Barracuda or Sphyraenidae Family.

The fish of the Barracuda or Sphyraenidae Family are known in Mexican fishing waters as Barracuda. They feature very elongated, cylindrical bodies, long heads, pointed snouts, and a protruding lower jaw with large mouths equipped with remarkably long and large pointed teeth. Barracudas are silver in color, with dark bands (saddles or chevron markings) which are generally above the dark and highly visible straight lateral line. They have small anal, pectoral, and pelvic fins. Their pelvic fins are well aft of their pectoral fins, and their caudal fins are deeply forked. Their dorsal fins are well separated and the first dorsal has 5 spines. Keys to differentiate the eight Barracudas that inhabit Mexican oceanic waters include tail color, pectoral fin ray count, and pectoral fin location in relation to the dorsal and pelvic fins.

Barracudas are a global species found in all tropical warm waters, with twenty-six species that have been placed in one genus, of which eight are found in Mexican waters, three in the Atlantic and five in the Pacific. They are normally found in small to medium-sized schools in the vicinity of reefs. They feed on small fish. Although “slimy” to the touch and thus shunned by many anglers, barracudas are suitable for human consumption. However, large specimens should be avoided due to the possible presence of Ciguatera Toxin.

There are five members of the Barracuda, one from the Atlantic and four from the Pacific,  presented in this website:

Cortez Barracuda, Sphyraena lucasana
Great Barracuda, Sphyraena barracuda
Mexican Barracuda, Sphyraena ensis
Pacific Barracuda, Sphyraena argentea
Pelican Barracuda, Sphyraena idiastes