B is for Barracuda

Barracuda have long, slender, silver cylindrical bodies covered with small scales. This species can grow up to 6 feet in length. Barracuda have a hard bony skeleton covered by strong muscles that help propel them through water at great speeds. This speed becomes useful when it is time to feed. Their long jaw, with visible pointed teeth, is quite distinctive. The~ teeth are capable of immense shearing of the barracuda's food source.

Barracuda live around reefs and other habitats where food sources live. Small barracuda are often seen in shallow water along shores while larger ones are deeper water. They may live a solitary existence or in small groups.

To become a successful feeder, the barracuda developed a technique of racing through a school of fish with its blade like teeth attacking the helpless fish. After it injures and immobilizes some of the fish, the barracuda returns to snatch them up. It}s clear that barracuda have truly honed their predatory skills. Often, in fact, barracudas use their highly evolved instincts to take advantage of the disorder that occurs around dusk, when the nighttime fish switch places with the daytime fish. It is at this time, when their prey least expects it, that barracuda make their attack. The prey of choice for the barracuda is fish that feed on algae growing on the coral reef.

Barracuda spawn just like many other fish; however, few details are known. It is recognized that fertilized eggs drift in ocean currents and the eggs develop into larvae in the open ocean. Very small barracuda larvae that are less than a quarter-inch in length do not have barracuda traits~ The baby fish must grow to approximately one-half inch in length before it begins to show physical barracuda characteristics. Barracuda do not tend to their young. There are theories that barracuda may spawn more than once a year and spawning patterns may be different from one part of the world to another.

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