Striped Barracuda, Sphyraena obtusata Cuvier 1829

Other Names: Dingo Fish, Obtuse Barracuda, Pike, Sennit, Short-finned Seapike, Short-finned Sea-pike, Short-jawed Sea-pike, Striped Sea Pike, Yellowstripe Barracuda, Yellowtail, Yellowtail Barracuda, Yellowtail Sennit

A Yellowtail Barracuda, Sphyraena obtusata, between Shelly Beach & Fairy Bower, Manly, New South Wales, November 2017. Source: Erik Schlogl / License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial


A greenish barracuda becoming silvery below, with two indistinct stripes along the sides, the lower stripe joining the lateral line behind the second dorsal-fin base and continuing onto the tail base. Some individuals also have a broad yellow band along the mid-side and a yellow caudal fin. The Striped Barracuda has 5-7.5 scale rows above the lateral line and a forked tail.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Schultz, S. 2019, Sphyraena obtusata in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jul 2020,

Striped Barracuda, Sphyraena obtusata Cuvier 1829

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Widespread in Australia from about Bunbury, Western Australia, and Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea, to at least Jervis Bay, New South Wales; also at Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean, and Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere, the species is widespread in the tropical, subtropical Indo-west Pacific.

Inhabit bays, estuaries, coastal and outer reefs at depths of 5-200 m. Juveniles often form schools over seagrass beds.


Dorsal fin V + I,9; Anal fin II,9; Gill rakers 2; Lateral line scales 82-87; Scales above lateral line 5-7.5.

Body slender, snout pointed, lower jaw protruding beyond upper jaw. Upper jaw not extending to below anterior margin of eye. First dorsal-fin origin behind pelvic-fin origin; pectoral fins extend beyond origin of first dorsal fin. Caudal fin forked at all stage, and without lobes.

Scales, cycloid; single row of scales present in the suborbital groove covered by skin.


To 55cm.


Green dorsally, silvery on sides and underside. Two indistinct longitudinal stripes along sides. The lower stripe joins the lateral line behind the base of the second dorsal fin and continues to the middle of the caudal-fin base; some individuals have a broad yellow band along the middle of the side and the caudal fin is yellow.


Voracious carnivores that actively hunt small fishes.


Although not targeted in commercial fisheries, the Striped Barracuda may be taken as bycatch, and is also taken by recreational anglers.



In Australia, this species has previously been misidentified as Sphyraena flavicauda (a junior synonym).


The specific name is from the Latin, obtusata meaning blunt or dull.

Species Citation

Sphyraena obtusata Cuvier 1829, Historie naturelle des poissons. 3: 350. Type locality: Pondicherry, India.


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


Atlas of Living Australia

Striped Barracuda, Sphyraena obtusata Cuvier 1829


Allan, R. 2002. Australian Fish and How to Catch Them. Sydney : New Holland Publishers (Australia) 394 pp.

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.  (as Sphyraena flavicauda and S. obtusata)

Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21 (as Sphyraena flavicauda)

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 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.

Bray, D.J. & Hoese, D.F. 2006. Sphyraenidae and Gempylidae. pp. 1748-1760 in Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & Allen, G.R. Fishes. In, Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Vol. 35. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3, 2178 pp. (as Sphyraena flavicauda)

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 (as Sphyraena flavicauda)  

de Sylva, D.P. & Williams, F. 1986. Sphyraenidae. pp. 721-726 in Smith, M.M. & Heemstra, P.C. (eds). Smith's Sea Fishes. Johannesburg : Macmillan South Africa xx + 1047 pp. 144 pls. (as Sphyraena flavicauda)

De Vis, C.W. 1883. Descriptions of new genera and species of Australian fishes. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 8(2): 283-289 (described as Sphyraena strenua)

Doiuchi, R. & Nakabo, T. 2005. The Sphyraena obtusata group (Perciformes: Sphyraenidae) with a description of a new species from southern Japan. Ichthyological Research 52(2): 132-151. DOI: Abstract

Doiuchi, R. & Nakabo, T. 2007. Molecular evidence for the taxonomic status of three species of the Sphyraena obtusata group (Perciformes: Sphyraenidae) from East Asia. Ichthyological Research 54(3): 313–316.

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp. (as Sphyraena flavicauda & S. obtusata)

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Sphyraenidae. In Gomon, M.F., D.J. Bray & R.H. Kuiter. Fishes of Australia's southern coast. New Holland Publishers, Chatswood, Australia.

Hutchins, J.B. 1990. Fish survey of South Passage, Shark Bay, Western Australia. pp. 263-278 in Berry, P.F., Bradshaw, S.D. & Wilson, B.R. (eds). Research in Shark Bay: Report of the France-Australe Bicentenary Expedition Committee. Perth : Western Australian Museum. 

Hutchins, J.B. 1997. Checklist of fishes of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. pp. 239-253 in Wells, F. (ed.). The Marine Fauna and Flora of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum. 

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. (as Sphyraena flavicauda)

Johnson, J.W. 1999. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 43(2): 709-762.

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 (as Sphyraena flavicauda)

Kulbicki, M., Bozec, Y.-M. Labrosse, P., Letourneur, Y., Mou-Tham, G. & Wantiez, L. 2005. Diet composition of carnivorous fishes from coral reef lagoons of New Caledonia. Aquatic Living Resources 18: 231-250.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal fishes of south-eastern Australia. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu. i-xxxi + 1-437.

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds). The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp. (as Sphyraena chrysotaenia)

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 (as Sphyraena flavicauda)

Rüppell, W.P.E. 1838. Neue Wirbelthiere zu der Fauna von Abyssinien gehörig. Fische des Rothen Meeres. Frankfurt Vol. 4, pp. 81–148, pls 22–33. (described as Sphyraena flavicauda)

Russell, B.C., Larson, H.K., Hutchins, J.B. & Allen, G.R. 2005. Reef fishes of the Sahul Shelf. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory Supplement 1 2005: 83-105 (as Sphyraena flavicauda)

Russell, B.C. & Houston, W. 1989. Offshore fishes of the Arafura Sea. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 6(1): 69-84

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1985. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls (as Sphyraena flavicauda & S. obtusata)

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 (as Sphyraena flavicauda & S. obtusata)

Stead, D.G. 1908. The Edible Fishes of New South Wales: their present importance and their potentialities. Sydney : N.S.W. Government 124 pp. 81 pls. (described as Sphyraena lineata)

Steindachner, F. 1866. Über die Fische von Port Jackson in Australien. Anzeiger der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Klasse, Wien 3(7): 50-55 (described as Sphyraena grandisquamis)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37382007

Depth:5-200 m

Habitat:Reef associated, coastal, pelagic

Max Size:55 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map