info on barracuda??!

Shane spater at
Sat Jan 13 10:43:38 EST 1996

On 12 Jan 1996, Michael L Roginsky wrote:

> In <Pine.SUN.3.90.960106234222.16035F-100000 at> Shane
> <spater at> writes: 
> >I am studying behavioral ecology of great barracuda (Sphyraena
> barracuda) 
> >- there are 19 or so other species, most of which have never been
> studied 
> >in detail.  I can have a go at any specific questions you want to
> throw 
> >my way.
> >
> >								Shane
> >>Hello, keeping the thread..........barracudas in the wild are VERY
> TERRITORIAL, so if you see one come over, leave, and no harm occurs.
> Otherwise they are can rip-up a wet suit and incurr severe harm!

Not really - they're actually pretty placid most of the time, though I've 
seen a couple of apparently psychotic ones (which puts them several 
orders of magnitude more stable in their behavior than human beings).  
Some barracuda are territorial, but the extent of that territoriality 
toward humans is largely just a wary kind of curiosity, or 
escorting/following behavior.  Even gaping has never led to anything, in 
my experience, in contrast to (for example) the threat display of grey 
reef sharks.  I have swum right up to large barracuda for extreme 
close-ups and sometimes it's a stand-off, sometimes they back down, and 
sometimes I decide it's probably a good idea to get out of its personal 
space.  If a barracuda swims toward you, there's no reason to leave - 
lots of divers compare them to dogs, and often they will hang around like 
a stray dog, checking out everything you do and even getting in the way 
(like passing between you and what you're working on or resting with 
their head over your shoulder, which is always fun).
     Perhaps I should perpetuate the myth that barracuda are bloodthirsty 
killers of the sea, in order to make people think that I am _muy macho_ 
for risking my life every time I jump in the water to study them, but it's 
just not true.


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