1 The great barracuda is the largest member of the “baraccudas” family Sphyroenidae. It is found in the tropical waters of the world from the Red Sea and ear Africa to the Hawaiian Islands and the Tuamotu Archipelago.

2 The body is long and cylindrical and is silver in colour with a very large underslung jaw and large pointed teeth.

3 The body usually has a few small black spots all over it, and the second dorsal fin, anal and caudal fins have black coloration. It may display a barred or mottled pattern when resting near the sea floor.

4 Juveniles are often seen inshore amongst mangroves and estuaries, whereas adults generally found to be solitary in the open or close to coral reefs. They can also be found in small groups and are generally seen in shallow water (less then 15 meters).

5 They are ferocious predators and hunt using a classic example of lie-in-wait or ambush. They rely on surprise and short bursts of speed to overrun their prey and strike with awesome power. They feed on a variety of other fish species.

6 This species has a fearsome reputation amongst divers as several divers have been on the receiving end of it’s large pointy teeth. Most attacks have occured in murky water and are often attributed to the diver wearing shiny objects such as rings and jewellery.

7 Some of the recognized places to photograph this species include: the Wreck of the US Liberty, off Tulamben in Bali; Walindi and Tufi in Papua New Guinea; and Osprey Reef off the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

8 The Great Barracuda grows to a maximum length of approximately 1.8 metres.

From Scuba Australasia Issue 1/ 2o11

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