Yellowtail barracuda

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Yellowtail barracuda
Sphyraena flavicauda.JPG
Not evaluated (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Sphyraenidae
Genus: Sphyraena
Species: S. flavicauda
Binomial name
Sphyraena flavicauda
Rüppell, 1838
  • Sphyraena langsar (Rüppell, 1838)
  • Sphyraenella flavicauda Bleeker, 1855

The yellowtail barracuda, Sphyraena flavicauda, is one of the smaller species of barracuda of the family Sphyraenidae, which occurs in Indo-West Pacific oceans, it has also invaded the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal from the Red Sea, making it one of the Lessepsian migrants.


The yellow tail barracuda has an elongated body with two well separated dorsal fins, the anterior dorsal fin has five spines with the first spine being the longest. The origin of the second dorsal fin is positioned slightly in front of that of the anal fin. The pelvic fin is located below the tip of the pectoral fin, which in turn is positioned in front of the origin of the anterior dorsal fin. The large head is slightly flattened towards the rear and bears a large eye, pointed snout and long jaws, with a prognathic lower jaw.In the front of the upper jaw there are several fang-like teeth, then 4-5 sharp teeth which form a single row on the palatine followed by a single row of smaller teeth on premaxilla. The lower jaw has a single large canine-like tooth at its apex followed by a row of smaller sharp teeth along the each side of the jaw. It is grey in colour on the back with a countershaded pattern of a white underside, sometimes the flanks show a yellow tint. The tail is yellow with black margins. They can grow to 60cm but 35-40cm is normal.[2]


The yellowtail barracuda is found from the Red Sea east through the Indian and Pacific Oceans to Samoa, its northern limit is the Ryukyu Islands and its southern is on the Great Barrier Reef.[3] It was first recorded in the Mediterranean off Israel in 1992[2] and had reached the island of Rhodes by 2002[4] and Libya by 2005. It is established but still relatively rare in the Mediterranean but its true status may be obscured by confusion with sympatric congeners,[2] although both the yellowtail barracuda and Sphyraena chrysotaenia were found to be common off the coast of Libya.[5]


Yellowtail barracudas school by day in lagoons, inner and outer reef slopes and is probably a nocturnal hunter of fish and large invertebrates. Their eggs and fry are planktonic while the juveniles shelter in very sheltered coastal waters.[6][2][7] The adults attain a maximum age of six years old.[8] In Australia the yellowtail barracuda was found to be a host to the parasitic tapeworm Floriceps minacanthus[9] while the ectoparasitic flatworm Diplectanum cazauxi has been found on the gills of a number of barracuda species, including the yellowtail barracuda.[10] Another known ectoparasite of the yellowtail barracuda is the copepod Caligus inopinatus.[11]

Yellowtail barracuda


  1. ^ "Synonyms of Sphyraena flavicauda Rüppell, 1838". Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Sphyraena falvicauda". CIESM Atlas of Exotic Fishes in the Mediterranean Sea. CIESM. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  3. ^ "Sphyraena flavicauda Rüppell, 1838". Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  4. ^ Maria Corsini; Panagiotis Margies; Gerasimos Kondilatos; Panos S. Economidis (2005). "Lessepsian migration of fishes to the Aegean Sea: First record of Tylerius spinosissimus (Tetraodontidae) from the Mediterranean, and six more fish records from Rhodes" (PDF). Cybium. 29 (4): 347–354. 
  5. ^ H. Bazairi; et al. (2013). "Alien marine species of Libya: first inventory and new records in El-Kouf National Park (Cyrenaica) and the neighbouring areas". Mediterranean Marine Science. 14 (2): 421–462. 
  6. ^ John E. Randall (1995). Coastal Fishes of Oman. University of Hawaii Press. p. 367. 
  7. ^ "Yellowtail Barracuda (Sphyraena flavicauda)". Whatsthatfish. Retrieved 16 January 2017. 
  8. ^ Azza El Ganainy; Amal Amin; Abdallah Ali; Hanan Osman (2016). "Age and growth of two barracuda species Sphyraena chrysotaenia and S. flavicauda (Family: Sphyraenidae) from the Gulf of Suez, Egypt". The Egyptian Journal of Aquatic Research (in press). 
  9. ^ Ian Beveridge; Rodney A. Bray; Thomas H. Cribb; Jean-Lou Justine (2014). "Diversity of trypanorhynch metacestodes in teleost fishes from coral reefs off eastern Australia and New Caledonia" (PDF). Parasite. 21 (60). 
  10. ^ Delane C Kritsky; M F. Agustin Jimenez-Ruiz; Otto Sey (2000). "Diplectanids (Monogenoidea: Dactylogyridea) from the Gills of Marine Fishes of the Persian Gulf off Kuwait" (PDF). Comparative Parasitology. 67 (2): 145–164. 
  11. ^ Nicolas Bailly (2008). "Sphyraena flavicauda Rüppell, 1838". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 17 January 2017.