Physical Description

  • Elongated cylinder-shaped body.
  • Slender, long, pointy snout.
  • Large mouth full of canine-like teeth.
  • Brownish-bluish color on their back and sides, white or silver on bellies. Tail is yellowish.
  • They can reach a length of about 4 feet and a weight of about 15 pounds.


  • From Kodiak Islands, Alaska to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California.
  • Not common north of Santa Barbara.


  • Usually considered a pelagic, or open water, species.
  • Usually near shores or coastal areas in adult life.
  • When young, found in bays in shallow waters.


  • A predatory fish, exhibiting aggressive behavior in order to feed on other small fishes.
  • Their diet primarily consists of small fish such as anchovies, small Pacific mackerels, grunion, squid, groupers, grunts, and even young barracuda.


  • Eagles, terns, marine mammals, large fish, sharks.

Interesting Facts

  • They are distinct from other barracudas due to their silvery shiny backsides, small scales, and the lack of bars or spots on their body.
  • They are often considered a sport fish by fishermen.
  • They can form long, thin schools sometimes miles long! 

Sources: California Sea Grant; MarineBio Conservation Society; Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Photo: Daira Paulson