Pickhandle Barracuda, Sphyraena jello Cuvier 1829

Other Names: Dingo-fish, Giant Seapike, Giant Sea-pike, Pick-handle Barracuda, Sea Pike, Slender Seapike, Yellowtail Barracuda

A Pickhandle Barracuda, Sphyraena jello, at the Snake Pit near Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Anne Hoggett / Lizard Island Field Guide, http://lifg.australianmuseum.net.au/. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike


A large barracuda with dark chevron-like bars along the body that cross the lateral line, and a yellowish caudal fin. The bars are oblique above the lateral line, and almost vertical along the lower sides. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Schultz, S. 2019, Sphyraena jello in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Jul 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/2549

Pickhandle Barracuda, Sphyraena jello Cuvier 1829

More Info


Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, around the tropical north to Jervis Bay, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical Indo-west Pacific. Inhabits inshore tropical and sub-tropical reefs, along with inshore waters and estuaries. 


Dorsal fin VI, 9; Anal fin II, 7-9; Lateral line 130-140.

Maxilla (upper jaw) reaches to just below anterior margin of the eye. First gill arch with platelets, without distinct spines. Origin of first dorsal fin posterior to pelvic fin origin. Caudal fin forked, lobeless.


To 125cm and at least 15 kg.


Dark brown/green dorsally, silver on sides, fading to white ventrally. Numerous dark bars, extending below lateral line. Bars oblique above lateral line, almost vertical below. Caudal fin yellow.


Popular with recreational fishers.


Similar Species

Robust body with chevron markings, The Pickhandle Barracuda often has a yellow lower caudal-fin lobe, and lacks the scalloped caudal fin and white caudal-fin lobes of the Great Barracuda, Sphyraena barracuda. Although the Blackfin Barracuda, Sphyraena qenie, has a scalloped tail, it lacks the white lobes.

Species Citation

Sphyraena jello Cuvier 1829, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons.3: 349. Type locality: Vizagapatam, India.


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


Atlas of Living Australia

Pickhandle Barracuda, Sphyraena jello Cuvier 1829


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. 

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp. 

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls. 

Cuvier, G.L. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1829. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 3 500 pp., pls 41-71. See ref at BHL

de Sylva, D.P. 1973. Barracudas (Pisces : Sphyraenidae) of the Indian Ocean and adjacent seas — a preliminary review of their systematics and ecology. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India 15(1): 74-94 figs 1-4 

Hutchins, J.B. 2003. Checklist of marine fishes of the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia. pp. 453-478 in Wells, F.E., Walker, D.I., & Jones, D.S. (eds). Proceedings of the Eleventh International Marine Biological Workshop: The Marine Flora and Fauna of Dampier, Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum. 

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) 

Johnson, J.W. & Gill, A.C. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of Sweers Island, Gulf of Carpentaria. Gulf of Carpentaria Scientific Study Report. Geography Monograph Series. Brisbane: Royal Geographic Society of Queensland. pp. 239-260 

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293

Marshall, T.C. 1964. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coastal Waters of Queensland. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 566 pp. 136 pls. 

Ogilby, J.D. 1910. On new or insufficiently described fishes. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 23(1): 1-55 (described as Sphyraena altipinnis)

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs. 

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. 

Yearsley, G.K., Last, P.R. & Ward, R.D. (eds) 1999. Australian Seafood Handbook. Hobart : CSIRO Marine Research 460 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37382004

Danger:reports of ciguatera poisoning

Depth:0-60 m

Max Size:150 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map