Barracuda

Barracuda Introduction:

The barracuda is a ray-finned fish known for its large size, fearsome appearance and ferocious behavior. There are more than 20 different species of barracuda that range in size from less than 50 cm to nearly 2 meters in length.

The barracuda is widely spread across the oceans but is more commonly found in the more tropical regions where there is an abundance of food. Although barracudas can be found in the deep ocean, they tend to prefer coastal habitats along continental shelves and close to coral reefs.

Despite the difference in size and color between barracuda species, all species of barracuda have a similar elongated appearance, and pointed head with powerful jaws, containing rows of sharp fang-like teeth used for eating larger prey.

The barracuda is known to be an aggressive and dominant predator, often relying on the surprise tactic in order to catch its prey. Barracudas are also able to swim at over 40 km/h in short bursts which they do to overtake prey that may be trying to swim away. The barracuda is an opportunistic predator, feeding only on other animals in the surrounding water.

The carnivorous barracuda primarily feeds on smaller species of fish, marine invertebrates, crustaceans and squid, which the barracuda usually ambushes with tremendous power.

Barracudas are popular both as food and game fish. They are most often eaten as fillets or steaks. Larger species, such as the great barracuda, have been implicated in cases of ciguatera food poisoning.

Those who have been diagnosed with this type of food poisoning display symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort, limb weakness, and an inability to differentiate hot from cold effectively.

Keywords to learn

Gastrointestinal: Relating to the stomach and the intestines.

External fertilization: External fertilization is a male organism’s sperm fertilizing a female organism’s egg outside of the female’s body.


About Me:

Hey Kids, my name is Blaine the Barracuda and I am very happy to meet you. Learn more about me and my species @ www.kids.nationalgeographic.com

Key Barracuda Data:

  • Order:
    Perciformes.
  • Lifespan:
    10 – 15 years.
  • Class:
    Actinopterygii.
  • Scientific Name:
    Sphyraena.
  • Mass:
     2.5–9.0 kg. (5.5–19.8 lb)
  • Length:
    0.5m – 2m. (20in – 79in)
  • Region found:
    Oceans worldwide.
  • Population Status:
    Least concern.
  • Current population trend:
    Unknown.
  • Diet:
    Carnivorous.
  • Sexual maturity:
    2 years.

Hunted by other fish and also hunters, barracudas are in the middle of the food chain. Barracudas are long and slender. They are beautiful fish and also scary at the same time.

Now that you know more about the barracuda by learning the key data above, be sure also to check out the fun facts. When you are finished learning the facts, try answering the questions in the Q&A corner on the bottom right side of the page.

 

Download questions about the barracuda here: Barracuda (answers are on this page)

 

Teachers. For more in depth work sheets the barracuda. Click on Kidskonnect Worksheets

Barracuda Fun Facts for Kids:

  • # 1. Due to the fact that barracudas can grow into very large sized fish, the barracuda has few natural predators in the ocean besides sharks and killer whales. Humans are also one of the barracuda’s main predators as they are hunted and eaten all around the world.
  • # 2. Although little is really known about the reproduction of the barracuda, females are known to spawn during the spring. The female releases her eggs into the water which are then fertilized externally. As with many fish species, once spawned, the barracuda mother has no interest in caring for her young.
  • # 3. Today, due to its aggressive nature, the barracuda is one of the most dominant predators within its coastal environments and has even been known to act aggressively towards humans diving or snorkeling in the water.
  • # 4. Shiny objects attract the barracuda’s attention. Because of that, they usually hunt fish with golden or silver scales. Divers might be wise to avoid wearing jewelry in their presence!
  • # 5. Their reproduction involves external fertilization, but the number of eggs laid during reproduction by a single barracuda is unknown. However, data from research on similar species place the estimate eggs laid at approximately half a million eggs each time.

Q&A Corner

  • # 1. How many species of barracuda are there?
  • # 2. How fast can a barracuda swim?
  • # 3. What is the length (in inches) of a barracuda?
  • # 4. What should divers avoid wearing when swimming with barracudas? Why?
  • # 5. how many eggs can a female barracuda lay on average?

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