You wouldn’t want to run into one of these on a dark night…
Any ideas what it is?
In fact, of the family Sphyraenidae, only a few of 27 known species are marked like this. Barracuda are sociable youngsters and are often found schooling in large numbers. However when they become adults, they are normally solitary, hanging round by coral reefs in very shallow water.
The largest species, the unsurprisingly named ‘Giant Barracuda’, can reach lengths of over 2m. Combine this with a recorded 30cm width and a large set of fang-like teeth, and it is easy to see why the barracuda is feared by many snorkelers and divers alike (as well as a fair few fishermen!)
Its reputation is not helped by the fact that it often thinks nothing of feeding on animals the same size or larger than itself. They simply bite in half smaller. Larger meals are consumed by tearing flesh (yuk!)There have even been sightings of them fighting with dolphins and to secure a meal. Talk about brave…
So why such a legendary reputation? They have lightening speed reactions, with a maximum swimming speed of up to 40kph but, unfortunately, they are not blessed with the best eyesight. This means that when their attention is caught by something that shimmers or glints, they assume its food and head after it. On a few occasions the ‘food ‘ has turned out to be a ring, bracelet or other object attached to a person and they have been on the receiving end of those big nashers. Nothing fatal, but it gotta hurt!
So now what’s your view? Barracuda – evil monster or lonely, poor sighted soul?Share