The Great Barracuda's Diet

by Naomi Millburn
Great barracudas track down prey using their eyes.

Great barracudas track down prey using their eyes.

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The great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) is a sleek and lengthy fish that is prevalent in warm water locales, from the eastern portion of the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea and the Caribbean Sea. These silver barracudas swim rapidly and are quite aggressive predators, what with their immense and ultra sharp chompers.

About Great Barracudas

Great barracudas can grow to upwards of over two feet in length, indicates Animal Diversity Web of the University of Michigan. They usually weigh just over 88 pounds. Other notable physical traits of the great barracuda include their sizable mouths, their cylindrical overall forms and the dark blots on their undersides. With regard to living environment, these predominantly diurnal barracudas usually are close to coral reef outskirts. They also usually are close to the top of the water. Once they grow to roughly three feet in length, they tend to begin leading solitary, independent lives. Younger great barracudas, however, often stick together -- sometimes even in units of up to 200 individual specimens, according to the Tennessee Aquarium.

Great Barracuda Diet

The basic foundation of the great barracuda diet consists of fellow fish species -- think killifish, grunts, herring, tuna, mullets, anchovies and jacks. However, they are in no way limited to fish. Other typical items on the great barracuda menu include both octopus and shrimp. Great barracudas adopt opportunistic eating styles, and therefore often consume whatever sustenance is right in front of them. These fish aren't at all finicky when it comes to mealtime.

Battle Over Mealtime

As far as winning over prey, rivalry is intense in the great barracuda world, even for youngsters. Fully mature great barracudas battle it out with mackerel over prey, while the younger barracudas go against needlefish, for example. Adult barracudas sometimes even go against dolphins on the quest for food.

Predation Behavior of the Great Barracuda

Great barracudas slyly linger by the water's surface in order to attain an overhead look at future meals. Due to their silverish coloration, they often can remain inconspicuous to unassuming prey. Once great barracudas are ready to go in for the kill, they swiftly follow their prey and then proceed to rip their bodies up into fragments. After they return to their previous location, they then start enjoying their catches.

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    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.