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Northern barracuda Sphyraena borealis DeKay 1842

[Jordan and Evermann, 1896-1900, p. 825.]

Northern barracuda (Sphyraena borealis)

Figure 165.—Northern barracuda (Sphyraena borealis), Woods Hole. From Goode. Drawing by H. L. Todd.


The combination of slender shape with long head, projecting lower jaw, a first dorsal [page 307] situated opposite the ventrals, a second dorsal opposite the anal, and a forked tail, separates the barracuda from any other Gulf of Maine fish.


The adult is olivaceous above, silvery below. The young have dusky blotches along the back and along the lateral line.


This is the smallest of the barracudas, few growing longer than one foot.

General range—

Atlantic and Gulf coasts of America from Cape Cod to Panama.

Occurrence in the Gulf of Maine—

A specimen, about 2 inches long, found alive in the surf at Nauset Beach, Cape Cod, September 26, 1930, by the late Dr. Edward P. Richardson, is the only record for the Gulf of Maine. Young fry, a few inches long, have been taken from time to time in Vineyard Sound, however, and in Buzzards Bay on the southern coast of Massachusetts between July and December.