Barracudas are a large species of fish that live in the warmer, coastal regions of the planet's oceans. They are known for their aggressive and dominant predator behavior. There are over 20 species of barracuda in the world.
While barracudas are widely spread across the seas, they are more commonly found in tropical areas where there is an abundance of food sources. Although barracudas also live in the deep ocean, they prefer the coastal areas along continental shelves and near coral reefs. Barracudas are nocturnal animals, active during the night.
All species of barracuda have an elongated shape and a pointed head with powerful jaws housing sharp, fang-like teeth. Different species of barracudas vary in sizes and colors. Barracudas can grow to be very large. The upper part of a barracuda body is covered with scales that can be black, gray, brown or blue. A barracuda's belly is always white. Irregular dark spots are located on both sides of the barracuda's body.
Barracudas are carnivores. The barracuda feeds mainly on smaller species of fish, crustaceans, invertebrates and squid. They are opportunistic predators, feeding on other animals in the surrounding area. They use a surprise tactic to capture their prey, ambushing with tremendous power. They can swim very quickly in short bursts to overtake their prey.
Barracudas prefer a solitary life, but sometimes gather in groups called schools. Schools provide safety and cooperative hunting opportunities.
Barracudas have few natural predators. Sharks and killer whales prey on barracudas.
Mother barracudas spawn during the spring. The female barracuda releases her eggs into the ocean which are then fertilized externally by the male barracuda. Baby barracudas have little interaction with their parents.
Barracudas can live over 15 years in the wild.
THREATS TO BARRACUDAS
The biggest threats to barracudas are recreational fishing and the barracuda meat trade.
All ocean animals are threatened by pollution, the fishing industry and changes in climate. Global fish populations are collapsing, affecting all marine life. Plastics and toxic waste are destroying aquatic ecosystems. Almost half of all ocean pollution is from irresponsible human activities that take place on land, including animal agriculture, sewage, chemical spills, industrial runoff and garbage dumping.
Marine habitats are being destroyed by coastal pollution. The clearing of mangrove forests and scraping of underwater mountain ranges through deep-sea trawling are also having detrimental affects on marine ecosystems.