Blackfin Barracuda, Sphyraena qenie Klunzinger 1870

Blackfin Barracuda, Sphyraena qenie, at the Snake Pit near Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Anne Hoggett / Lizard Island Field Guide, License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike


A large barracuda with many dark bars along the body, each bar oblique above the midline and almost vertical on the lower sides, and a largely blackish caudal fin. Adult Blackfin Barracuda have a pair of small lobes on the rear margin of the caudal fin near the middle of the fin.

One of the largest barracudas, the Blackfin Barracuda grows to 1.7 m and almost 30 kg in weight and is found in inshore waters and on coral reefs.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Sphyraena qenie in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jun 2024,

Blackfin Barracuda, Sphyraena qenie Klunzinger 1870

More Info


Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, around the tropical north to at least the Solitary Islands, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the Indo-Pacific.

During the day, this species forms large, slow-moving schools near current-swept lagoon and seaward reefs. 


Dorsal fin VI, 9; Anal fin II, 7-9; Lateral line scales 127-130.

Maxilla (upper jaw) reaching to just below anterior margin of eye; Gill rakers absent from first arch, upper and lower gill arch with rough platelets that lack distinct spines. 

First dorsal fin origin posterior to pelvic fin origin; pectoral fin tip reaching to beyond origin of first dorsal fin; caudal fin forked, adults with a pair of small lobes on the posterior margin close to the midline.


To at least 170 cm and at least 29 kg.


Dull blue dorsally, silvery on sides, fading to white ventrally. Numerous dark bars, extending below lateral line. Bars oblique above lateral line, almost vertical below. Caudal fin mostly black.


Of no interest to commercial fisheries. Highly prized by recreational anglers, often taken on lures trolled at dawn or dusk.



Similar Species

Confusing species are Sphyraena jello and S. putnamae, the former has a yellow caudal fin which lacks lobes on the posterior margin, and the latter is distinguishable by the elongated fin ray (most posterior ray) on the second dorsal fin.

Species Citation

Sphyraena qenie Klunzinger 1870, Verhandlungen der K.-K. zoologisch-botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien 20: 823. Type locality: Al-Quseir (as Kosseir), Egypt, Red Sea.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Blackfin Barracuda, Sphyraena qenie Klunzinger 1870


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. 

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 

Klunzinger, C.B. 1870. Synopsis der Fische des Rothen Meeres, 1. Verhandlungen der Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien 20: 669-834 

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.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37382009

Danger:Ciguatera poisoning

Depth:1-100 m

Fishing:Game fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:170 cm TL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map