Mediterranean barracuda and European barracuda

European barracuda, Sphyraena sphyraena (Linnaeus, 1758), also known as the European barracuda, is the endemic species of the Mediterranean Sea. Mediterranean barracuda European barracuda intotheblue.it

European barracuda Sphyraena sphyraena Barracuda europeo Luccio di mare - www.intotheblue.it
European barracuda Sphyraena sphyraena Barracuda europeo Luccio di mare – www.intotheblue.it

 

Mediterranean barracuda, Sphyraena viridensis, commonly known as yellow-mouthed barracuda, is instead the alien species, that is, the one that was limited to a restricted basin of the eastern Atlantic (Cape Verde, the Canary Islands and the Azores). In the last ten years there has been a growing number of reports of its presence in the Mediterranean basin mainly due to the increase in sea water temperature.

Yellow barracuda Sphyraena viridensis Barracuda Mediterraneo - www.intotheblue.it
Yellow barracuda Sphyraena viridensis Barracuda Mediterraneo – www.intotheblue.it

 

They are two very similar fish and therefore quite difficult to identify at first glance. However, there are differences that make us distinguish the two species, which we propose in the video and photos of these meetings of two small specimens (about 7 cm), which took place this summer a few days apart from each other. These are practically fry of the two species, therefore two juvenile fish but which already have the same characteristics as the adult specimens.

Barracuda e Luccio di mare
Mediterranean barracuda and European barracuda – Barracuda e Luccio di mare – www.intotheblue.it

 

The Sea pike or European barracuda, Sphyraena sphyraena is very similar to the yellow-mouthed barracuda or Mediterranean barracuda, Sphyraena viridensis, but does not have the blue streaks on the sides, it feeds on sardines, anchovies and silversides. It is much smaller than the yellow-mouthed barracuda (always less than one metre), and another substantial difference has the scaly gill preoperculum whilst in the Mediterranean barracuda the scales are absent.

Furthermore, the Mediterranean barracuda can measure up to 1.30m and weigh up to 3 kg (the Atlantic barracuda can exceed 10 kg) has a pointed snout with a prominent jaw. The very sharp teeth are used to catch fish; cephalopoi and crustaceans.

European barracuda Sphyraena sphyraena Barracuda europeo Luccio di mare - www.intotheblue.it
European barracuda Sphyraena sphyraena Barracuda europeo Luccio di mare – www.intotheblue.it

 

European barracuda, Sphyraena sphyraena (Linnaeus, 1758), also known as the European barracuda, is a sea fish belonging to the Sphyraenidae family.

Description
Extremely similar to the yellowmouth barracuda, from which it is distinguished by the livery without oblique blue streaks on the sides (if present they are not very visible while in S.viridensis they are always clear) and the much smaller size (1 m at most in exceptional cases). This species and the Sphyraena viridensis have been confused for years also by the ichthyologists so the differences between the two are not well known. The only certain method of distinction is in the preoperculum, scaly in this species and naked in Sphyraena viridensis.

European barracuda Sphyraena sphyraena Barracuda europeo Luccio di mare - www.intotheblue.it
European barracuda Sphyraena sphyraena Barracuda europeo Luccio di mare – www.intotheblue.it

 

Biology
Diet
It is a piscivorous species. The most frequent preys are sardines, anchovies and silversides.

Reproduction
Spring-summer. The juveniles have vertical dark bands which disappear at a length of about 30 mm.

Distribution and habitat
It is widespread, as well as in the entire Mediterranean Sea, on the Atlantic coast from the Gulf of Gascony to the entire African coast up to Angola, as well as in the Black Sea. It is a pelagic species that lives in open water, usually near the coast and near sandy bottoms while the related and very similar Mediterranean barracuda generally lives further offshore and near islands and rocks.

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphyraena_sphyraena

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphyraena_sphyraena

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Yellow barracuda Sphyraena viridensis Barracuda Mediterraneo - www.intotheblue.it
Yellow barracuda Sphyraena viridensis Barracuda Mediterraneo – www.intotheblue.it

 

Sphyraena viridensis, commonly known as Yellowmouth Barracuda or Mediterranean Barracuda, is a species of saltwater fish belonging to the Sphyraenidae family.

Distribution and habitat
Sphyraena viridensis was once limited to a restricted basin of the eastern Atlantic (Cape Verde, the Canary Islands and the Azores). In the last ten years there has been a growing number of reports of its presence in the Mediterranean basin. 

Yellow barracuda Sphyraena viridensis Barracuda Mediterraneo - www.intotheblue.it
Yellow barracuda Sphyraena viridensis Barracuda Mediterraneo – www.intotheblue.it

 

The increase in the temperature of the waters of the mare nostrum (southernisation of the Mediterranean) has in fact created an ideal environment for the species, which quickly spread to the point of now being commonly referred to as the Mediterranean barracuda, often confusing it with the only other sphyrenid present in our waters, the sea pike (Sphyraena sphyraena), from which, however, it is differentiated by the pre-operculum without scales, the characteristic vertical bands and the decidedly larger dimensions.
It generally lives offshore (it is a pelagic fish) but it can especially approach the islands and promontories, near sheer cliffs and high and rocky coasts. It lives up to 100 meters deep.

Yellow barracuda Sphyraena viridensis Barracuda Mediterraneo - www.intotheblue.it
Yellow barracuda Sphyraena viridensis Barracuda Mediterraneo – www.intotheblue.it

 

Biology
Behavior
Tends to move in large groups.

Diet
It is a carnivore, which feeds mainly on fish, cephalopods and crustaceans.

Reproduction
Spawning occurs in late spring or early summer. The fry seek out quiet, food-rich environments such as river mouths or coastal inlets; once they reach the 5 cm of length they reach the open sea.

https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphyraena_viridensis

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphyraena_viridensis

Gallery

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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