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Top 101 Prehistoric creatures living today

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Great Barracuda

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            The barracuda can be found in tropical areas in all the oceans of the world. It belongs to the Sphyraenidae family and it is a saltwater fish that is a very fast swimmer. Their size varies from 50 cm to 2 m long and there are over 20 species of barracudas. Such an encounter can give one shivers, because these skilful marine hunters are to be taken seriously.

Barracuda close up

Today’s barracuda is assumed that is the descendant of ancient species that lived in prehistoric times and have left behind fossils, in Miocene deposits of 8-10 Million Years old. Teeth fossils can be found also in Florida fossil deposits from as early as the Eocene Period to as late as the Pleistocene Period. (read more on http://www.fossil-treasures-of-florida.com/barracuda.html )

 
 

Appearance

            This fish is known to have a very aggressive temper and its appearance is pretty fierce. It has sharp teeth which are not equal in size, its body is elongated and very slender and it has a pointed head. The tail fin is in the shape of a fork and its shape helps the barracudas swim faster. They have no eyelids, so this means they sleep with their eyes wide open. As far as the color goes, it depends on the species you come across, but they are mostly silver and grey.

great barracuda  

Habitat / Distribution

            They enjoy habitats like mangroves, coral reefs and those that offer them protection from bigger predators. They are adaptable fish and they can survive in any habitat with warm water.
            
Barracuda can be found in the Caribbean, Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea and in Western Atlantic.  

 
  

Diet 

It is a carnivorous fish who likes to feed on other fish species like squid, small marine invertebrates, tuna, herrings and lures.

 

 

Mating Ritual

            A female becomes sexually active at the age of 4, while a male barracuda is ready to mate at the age of 2. The breeding season is between April- October. When they do mate, they rather find shallow and warm areas.

  

 A Threat to Humans?

            Some barracuda species tend to feel threatened by divers and they consider them predators. There have been reports of barracudas biting swimmers, but this happens rarely. In order to avoid such incidents, don’t wear anything too shinny and avoid touching or feeding barracudas.

Great Barracuda teeth  

Interesting facts               

•          Barracudas are unpredictable and they can attack humans( divers or snorkellers) for no reason
•          The lifespan of a barracuda is 15 years 
•          They are drawn to shiny objects( that is why they chase fish with silvery scales); they will attack vulnerable creatures or sources of agitation.
•          They also go by the name of” tigers of the sea’.
•          These fish can lead to food poisoning in people called “ Ciguatera” (this is because they feed on other fish that have ingested a poisonous substance called ciguatoxin ).
 
•          The Great Barracuda can be easily identified from the others species through its black spots .
•          Barracudas are voracious, opportunistic predators, relying on surprise and short bursts of speed (up to 27 mph (43 km/h)) to overtake their prey.

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Sources
http://www.softschools.com/facts/animals/barracuda_facts/472/
http://animalsadda.com/barracuda/
http://www.animalplace.net/fishes/great-barracuda-facts-characteristics-habitat-and-more/
http://www.dive-the-world.com/creatures-barracuda.php
http://www.prehistoric-wildlife.com/species/b/barracudasaurus.html
http://www.fossil-treasures-of-florida.com/barracuda.html
 
Pictures
http://flowergarden.noaa.gov/image_library/fish/greatbarracudagps.jpg (1)
http://gerberstropicalfish.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Great_barracuda.jpg (2)
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7d/Great_Barracuda_close-up%2C_western_Puerto_Rico.jpg (3)
 
Picture gallery additional links
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~tappen/barracuda.jpg
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c3/Barracuda_with_prey.jpg
http://f.fwallpapers.com/images/barracuda.jpg
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