Common name: Barracudinas



Small to medium-sized deep-sea fishes with a long, slender body, a posterior anal fin, an elongate pointed snout with the lower jaw protruding slightly, and fang-like teeth.

Barracudinas are fast swimmers found in epipelagic, mesopelagic and bathypelagic waters of all oceans. Light organs are present in the genera Lestidiops and Lestrolepis. Maximum size is 1 m in length.

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Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Barracudinas, PARALEPIDIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 31 Mar 2020,

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Family Taxonomy

Family with 12 genera and about and 60 species; 13 described species in 9 genera are known from Australia's maritime waters.

Family Distribution

Found worldwide from polar to tropical regions, most common in the tropics.

Although Paralepidids are known from epi- to bathypelagic waters and have been collected from surface waters to depths below 2000m, they are more common in the mesopelagic zone.

Some species are very widespread, and some adults apparently benthopelagic in slope waters.

Family Description

Small to large deep-sea fishes with a long, slender body, a posterior anal fin, an elongate pointed snout, a slightly protruding lower jaw and fang-like teeth.

Fin spines are absent, the dorsal fin is short-based and positioned behind the middle of the body; anal fin long-based with up to 50 rays, originating well behind dorsal fin in most species; dorsal adipose fin above anal fin; ventral adipose fin present in some species.

Cycloid scales when present are easily lost and the lateral line is conspicuous. Species range in length from 15-100 cm.

Family Size

Maximum length 1 metre.

Family Colour

Silvery with a brownish dorsal stripe, or totally black; some species with dark saddle-like blotches. usually iridescent silvery, sometimes with spotted or blotched patterns on body.

Family Feeding

These elongate predatory fishes feed on zooplankton, small fishes and crustaceans. They are preyed upon by whales and other oceanic predators, including seabirds, tunas, sharks and other deepwater fishes.

Family Reproduction

Most paralepidids are synchronous hermaphrodites, oviparous with pelagic eggs and larvae which occur in the upper 200m.

Family Commercial

Although of no commercial importance, barracudinas are a food source for tunas and other deepwater fishes. They are taken as bycatch in commercial trawl fisheries.

Family Conservation

IUCN REd List of Threatened Species: Not Evaluated

Family Remarks

Paralepidids have been seen swimming vertically in the water column with their heads pointing upwards.

Family Biology

The genera Lestidium and Lestrolepis are bioluminescent.


Bray, D.J. 2019


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