Volume 6    Number 6

Barracuda Lurks like a Steel Torpedo
at Ol' Blue Reef near Bonaire

 Barracuda Lurks like a Steel Torpedo at Ol' Blue Reef near Bonaire

It is always exciting to see a big silver Great Barracuda at a Caribbean Reef. This fish was about 3 feet long. It was hovering in midwater above the reef, about 8 feet underwater. Although I didn't see the cleaning fish, this Barracuda was probably being cleaned by a cleaning fish such as a Sharknose Goby or a juvenile Spanish Hogfish.

Notice the sleek lines of this Great Barracuda. Its snout is thin and sharply pointed. Its body is wide in the middle but gets narrow in front of its tail. Its tail fin is large, but its other fins are small and streamlined. All of these features make the Great Barracuda a fast swimmer. Built for speed, its sleek lines minimize drag so it can push itself through the water at over 30 miles per hour with just a few sweeps of its tail.

Also notice the white highlights on the tips of its dorsal, anal, and tail fins. Why do you suppose it has these highlights?

This Barracuda's brilliant silver scales reflected the light from the camera strobe. You can see the light-gray bars and dark black blotches that may minimize natural reflections to give this fish some camouflage as it hunts in open water. Barracudas use their tremendous speed to chase down and catch other fish. Notice the several large and sharp teeth in this Barracuda's mouth.

Below the Barracuda are several different Coralheads, including some Star Corals.

ReefNews President Jonathan Dowell took this picture using a Canon 10D digital camera with a 28-105 mm zoom lens in an Ikelite housing with an Ikelite strobe.



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