Sharpfin Barracuda, Sphyraena acutipinnis Day 1876

Other Names: Sharp-fin Barracuda

Illustration of a Sharpfin Barracuda, Sphyraena acutipinnis. Source: FAO / FishBase. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial


A barracuda with a narrow dark stripe along the lower side, a dark marking on body near the pelvic-fin base, and a darkish caudal fin.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Schultz, S. 2019, Sphyraena acutipinnis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 22 Feb 2024,

Sharpfin Barracuda, Sphyraena acutipinnis Day 1876

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Bernier Island, Western Australia, and eastern Australia from off Swains Reefs, Queensland, to Ulladulla, New South Wales; also at Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical and subtropical Indo-west-central Pacific. Sharpfin Barracuda are pelagic in lagoons, around seaward reefs and near bays to depths of 200 m.


Dorsal fin V  + I, 8-9; Anal fin II, 8; Lateral line 129-138.

Maxilla (upper jaw) ending below anterior nostril; first gill arch with a single prominent gill raker. Origin of first dorsal fin above pelvic-fin origin; pectoral fin not reaching first dorsal fin origin; caudal fin forked without lobes.


To at least 60 cm.


Of no known importance to fisheries.




A nocturnal predator known to occur in schools.

Similar Species

The Sharpfin Barracuda may be  confused with Sphyraena helleri.


The specific name is from the Latin acutipinnis (= sharp fin), in reference to the shape of the fins.

Species Citation

Sphyraena acutipinnis Day 1876, The fishes of India Part 2: 342, Pl. 79 (fig. 1). Type locality: Sind [Sindh], Pakistan, Arabian Sea, western Indian Ocean.


Bray, D.J. & Schultz, S. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Sharpfin Barracuda, Sphyraena acutipinnis Day 1876


Day, F. 1876. The Fishes of India; being a natural history of the fishes known to inhabit the sea and fresh water of India, Burma and Ceylon. London : B. Quaritch Part 2 169-368 pp. See ref at BHL

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2 (Recorded from Norfolk Island)

Francis, M.P. & Randall, J.E. 1993. Further additions to the fish faunas of Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 118-135 figs 1-22 pls 1-4 

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) 

Senou, H. 2001. Sphyraenidae. pp. 3685-3697 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218. 

Smith, M.M. & Heemstra, P.C. (eds) 1986. Smith's Sea Fishes. Johannesburg : Macmillan South Africa xx + 1047 pp. 144 pls.

Talwar, P.K. 1968. Taxonomic status of Sphyraena acutipinnis Day, 1876 (Sphyraenidae - Pisces). Journal of Natural History 2(2): 197-200.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37382003

Depth:5-200 m

Habitat:Pelagic, reef associated

Max Size:80 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map