Jupiter Marine Spotlight: Great Barracuda
Great Barracuda (Sphyraena Barracuda)
Great barracudas are very curious, fearsome-looking fish with a long, silver cylindrical body. They have large eyes and a large, underslung jaw with pointed teeth. Their bodies usually have scattered dark blotches on them and they can grow to a maximum length of 6ft and weigh up to 110lbs.
Great Barracudas are common to the reefs of Florida therefore we see quite a few of them along our Jupiter Ledges. Most of them will be spotted between 0-100 ft, where they drift solitary or in groups (varying in size) around the reefs and other habitats. They tend to have a habit of approaching divers and following them around the reef. This appears to be nothing more than curiosity, but can be a little unsettling because of their size and them opening and closing their mouth to assist respiration while showing off their pointy teeth.
Juvenile barracudas are mainly found in mangroves, estuaries and shallow sheltered inner reef areas, whereas the adults are found in a wide range of habitats from murky harbors to open seas.
The Great Barracuda is a top predator of reefs and feeds on a variety of prey, including fish such as jacks, grunts, groupers, snappers, small tunas, and mullets. They also seem to consume smaller species of sustenance that are in front of them and occasionally shrimp.