barracuda, slender, elongated fish of tropical seas. Barracudas have long snouts and projecting lower jaws armed with large, sharp-edged teeth. They are ferocious, striking at anything that gleams, and are considered excellent game fishes. The largest of the group, the great barracuda, averages 5 ft (1.5 m) in length but may reach 10 ft (3 m); it is dangerous to swimmers wearing shiny objects. Other species are the Pacific barracuda (4 ft/1.2 m long) and the smaller Northern barracuda, which is not dangerous. Barracudas are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Osteichthyes, order Sphyraenoidei, family Sphyraenidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.