Underwater Predators: Great Barracuda

The barracuda is any of about 20 species of predatory fishes of the family Sphyraenidae(order Perciformes). Barracudas are usually found in warm, tropical regions; some also in more temperate areas. They are swift and powerful, small scaled, slender in form, with two well-separated dorsal fins, a jutting lower jaw, and a large mouth with many sharp large teeth. Size varies from rather small to as large as 4-6 feet (1.2-1.8 meters) in the great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) of the Atlantic, Caribbean, and the Pacific.

Barracudas are primarily fish eaters of smaller fishes, such as mullets, anchovies, and grunts. They are good, fighting sporting fishes, and the smaller ones make good eating. In certain seas, however, lately increasingly they may become impregnated with a toxic substance that produces a form of poisoning known as ciguatera.
Barracudas are bold and inquisitive, and fearsome fishes, that may be/are dangerous to humans. The great barracuda is known to have been involved in attacks on swimmers. In reef areas they have been known to inhabit open waters and bay areas in the shadows, under floating objects. To avoid them, don’t wear shiny objects. They are attracted to shiny, reflective things that look like dinner. They cause harm with their sharp jagged teeth and strong tearing jaws; slashing and creating jagged tears in your skin. Should you or another be hurt by one get medical treatment.

Stop any bleeding and treat for shock by keeping yourself or the victim calm and warm.

AUTHOR

Ernest S. Campbell, M.D., FACS

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