Barracudas


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Barracudas are the common names for the members of the Sphyraenidae family. They are found in the tropical and subtropical parts of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. Most of them inhabit shallow coastal waters such as bays, estuaries, or the vicinity of coral reefs, and also in the surface of open oceans or down to depths of 100 m or more. They are known for their large size (up to about 2 m long), fearsome appearance and fang-like sharp teeth. The barracudas are recognized by their elongated body, long and pointed head, two widely separated short dorsal fins and, large, sharp, flattened or conical teeth of unequal size on jaws and palatines.

Barracudas are carnivorous fish feeding commonly on other fishes. They may even attack human when provoked . They frequently occur in small to large schools, but some large adult are solitary. Some species are primarily diurnal, while others are nocturnal and occur in inactive schools during the day. They are frequently caught using artificial lures and live bait as the are attracted by flashing objects and wounded fish, particularly in murky water. Steel leader is used to prevent broken lines.

There is only one genus and 29 species of Sphyraenidae worldwide. Malaysia has about 7 species.


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Scientific Name: Sphyraena barracuda (Edwards, 1771)
English Name: Great Barracuda
Mandarin Name: 巴拉金梭鱼 (Bā lā jīn suō yú), 山君鱼 (Shān jūn yú), 竹梭 (Zhú suō)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Alu-Alu, Kacang-kacang, Alu-alu Besar
Local Hokkien: Sua Gun
Local Teochew: Teik So
Main Diagnostic Features: Caudal fin with a pair of large lobes at posterior margin, except in young less than 50 cm total length which have a forked caudal fin. Caudal fin with white tips.
Size: Maximum total length about 170 cm, commonly to 100 cm.








Scientific Name: Sphyraena flavicauda  Rüppell, 1838
English Name: Yellowtail Barracuda
Mandarin Name: 黄尾金梭鱼 (Huáng wěi jīn suō yú), 山君鱼 (Shān jūn yú), 竹梭 (Zhú suō)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Alu-Alu, Kacang-kacang Ekor Kuning
Local Hokkien: Sua Gun
Local Teochew: Teik So
Main Diagnostic Features: Tip of pectoral fins not reaching to first dorsal fin. Fresh specimens body with 2 brown or brownish yellow longitudinal stripes, sometimes absent in non fresh specimens. Caudal fin yellowish.
Size: Maximum total length about 60 cm, commonly to 40 cm.






Scientific Name: Sphyraena forsteri  Cuvier, 1829
English Name: Bigeye Barracuda
Mandarin Name: 大眼金梭鱼 (Dà yǎn jīn suō yú), 山君鱼 (Shān jūn yú), 竹梭 (Zhú suō)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Alu-Alu, Tenak, Kacang-kacang Mata Besar
Local Hokkien: Sua Gun
Local Teochew: Teik So
Main Diagnostic Features: A dusky blotch present behind axil of pectoral fins. Caudal fin forked and darkish. Body blackish above and silvery below.
Size: Maximum total length about 65 cm, commonly to 50 cm.






Scientific Name: Sphyraena jello  Cuvier, 1829
English Name: Pickhandle Barracuda
Mandarin Name: 尖梭 (Jiān suō), 竹梭 (Zhú suō)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Alu-alu, Kacang-kacang, Alu-alu Belang
Local Hokkien: Sua Gun
Local Teochew: Teik So
Main Diagnostic Features: Many dark bars crossing lateral line on body. Caudal fin largely yellowish, without a pair of small lobes at posterior margin.
Size: Maximum total length 150 cm, commonly to 120 cm.






Scientific Name: Sphyraena putnamae  Jordan & Seale, 1905
English Name: Sawtooth Barracuda
Mandarin Name: 尖梭 (Jiān suō), 竹梭 (Zhú suō)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Alu-alu, Kacang-kacang, Alu-alu Gigi Gergaji
Local Hokkien: Sua Gun
Local Teochew: Teik So
Main Diagnostic Features: Many dark bars crossing lateral line on body. Caudal fin with a pair of small lobes at posterior margin.
Size: Maximum total length 90 cm, commonly to 60 cm.






Scientific Name: Sphyraena qenie  Klunzinger, 1870
English Name: Blackfin Barracuda
Mandarin Name: 暗鳍金梭鱼 (Àn qí jīn suō yú), 山君鱼 (Shān jūn yú), 竹梭 (Zhú suō)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Alu-Alu, Kacang-kacang Sirip Hitam
Local Hokkien: Sua Gun
Local Teochew: Teik So
Main Diagnostic Features: Many dark bars crossing lateral line on body. Caudal fin forked, in adults with a pair of small lobes at posterior margin. Caudal fin blackish.
Size: Maximum total length 115 cm, commonly to 80 cm