A barracuda, or ‘cuda for short, is a large, predatory, ray-finned fish known for its fearsome appearance and ferocious behavior. The barracuda is a saltwater fish of the genus Sphyraena, the only genus in the family Sphyraenidae, which was named by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque in 1815. It is found in tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide ranging from the eastern border of the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, on its western border the Caribbean Sea, and in tropical areas of the Pacific Ocean. Barracudas reside near the top of the water and near coral reefs and sea grasses.
In most cases, barracuda are dark gray, dark green, white, or blue on the upper body, with silvery sides and a chalky-white belly. Coloration varies somewhat between species. For some species, irregular black spots or a row of darker cross-bars occur on each side. Their fins may be yellowish or dusky. Barracudas live primarily in oceans, but certain species, such as the great barracuda, live in brackish water. Due to similarities, sometimes Barracuda are compared with freshwater Pike, though the major difference between the two is that Barracuda have two separate dorsal fins with a forked tail.
Some species grow quite large (up to 65 inches or 165 cm in length), such as Sphyraena sphyraena, found in the Mediterranean Sea and eastern Atlantic; Sphyraena picudilla, ranging on the Atlantic coast of tropical America from North Carolina to Brazil and reaching Bermuda. Other barracuda species are found around the world. Examples are Sphyraena argentea, found from Puget Sound southwards to Cabo San Lucas, Sphyraena jello, from the seas of India and the Malay Peninsula and Archipelago.