Northern sennet

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Northern sennet
Sphyraena borealis.jpg
Illustration from De Kay's 1842 volume of New York fauna
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Sphyraenidae
Genus: Sphyraena
Species: S. borealis
Binomial name
Sphyraena borealis
De Kay, 1842

The northern sennet, Sphyraena borealis, is an ocean-going species of fish in the barracuda family, or Sphyraenidae. It was described by the American zoologist James Ellsworth De Kay in 1842. De Kay's description was part of several volumes he published regarding the fauna of New York from 1842-1849.[2] Northern sennet are also known as northern barracuda.[3]


Like other members of the Sphyraenidae family, northern sennet have elongated bodies, pike-like heads, and large jaws.[4] The lower jaw protrudes slightly from the upper jaw, both of which contain fang-like teeth.[4] They have two dorsal fins, which are widely separated on their backs. The anterior dorsal fin usually possesses spines, while the posterior only has rays.[4] Northern sennet have 24 vertebrae. They also have five or six spines on their dorsal fins and 9 rays. Their anal fins have only two spines and 7-9 rays.[5] Northern sennet can grow to be up to 46 cm in length,[6] but they are generally considered the smallest of the barracudas - with many adults growing to less than 1 ft (0.3 m) in length,[7] and the greatest recorded weight being only 0.93 kg.[8]

Northern sennet are olive-colored, dorsally, and silvery-white ventrally. They also have several dusky blotches along their lateral lines.[7]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Reefs, such as this one made of elkhorn coral, serve as habitats to northern sennet off southern Florida.

Northern sennet can only be found in the western Atlantic Ocean. Although they normally occur in subtropical climates from 43°N - 18°N latitudes,[5] they can be found from Canada[9] and Massachusetts to southern Florida, the Gulf of Mexico,[5] where they are generally reef associated,[5] and the eastern coast of Panama.[7]


  1. ^ NatureServe (2015). "Sphyraena borealis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 4.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved February 25, 2016. 
  2. ^ "James Ellsworth De Kay". Biographical Dictionary of Hypogean Fish Researchers. Archived from the original on March 10, 2009. Retrieved July 9, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Northern barracuda". Fishbase. Retrieved July 9, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c * Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2006). "Sphyraenidae" in FishBase. January 2006 version.
  5. ^ a b c d Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2009). "Sphyraena borealis" in FishBase. 07 2009 version.
  6. ^ Robins, C.R. and G.C. Ray 1986 A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, U.S.A. 354 p.
  7. ^ a b c " entry on Northern sennet". Retrieved 2009-07-10. 
  8. ^ "Suborder SCOMBROIDEI, SPHYRAENIDAE pdf" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-07-13. 
  9. ^ Scott, W.B. and M.G. Scott 1988 Atlantic fishes of Canada. Can. Bull. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 219: 731 p.

External links[edit]