Boschung, Herbert T. Formerly, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
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The common name for any of the perciform fishes belonging to a single genus, Sphyraena, in the family Sphyraenidae. Barracudas are characterized by an elongate, slightly compressed body; a long, pointed head; a large horizontal mouth with nonprotractile premaxillae and with the lower jaw projecting beyond the upper jaw; strong, sharp, uneven conical teeth in the jaws as well as in the roof of the mouth (palatine teeth) and usually a large canine tooth near the tip of the lower jaw; two short dorsal fins, with the first located above the pelvic fins and having five strong spines, and the second usually with one spine and nine soft rays, as well as being well removed from the first and a mirror image of the anal fin; short pectoral and pelvic fins; a forked caudal fin; cycloid scales that are smooth to the touch; and coloration that is usually gray to green or bluish above, with silvery reflections, and lighter below, and sometimes with dark vertical bars or chevrons (see illustration).
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