Blackspot Barracuda, Sphyraena forsteri Cuvier 1829

Other Names: Bigeye Barracuda, Big-eye Sea-pyke, Black-spot Barracuda, Blotched Sea-pike

Blackspot Barracuda, Sphyraena forsteri, at Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, November 2014. Source: Mark Rosenstein / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike


A bluish-grey barracuda becoming silvery grey on the sides and below, with a very large eye, a dark blotch in the pectoral-fin axil, white tips on the second dorsal and anal fins, and no obvious bars or stripes along the side.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Schultz, S. 2022, Sphyraena forsteri in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 Jun 2024,

Blackspot Barracuda, Sphyraena forsteri Cuvier 1829

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Port Hedland, Western Australia, to Lindeman Island, Queensland, and possibly further south to the Solitary Islands, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the tropical and sub-tropical Indo-west-central Pacific.

Nocturnally active, forming large schools over lagoon patch reefs and along outer reef slopes during the day.


Dorsal fin VI,9; Anal fin II,9; Pectoral fin 14-15; Lateral-line scales 112-133.

Eye very large; corner of preopercle rounded, with no projecting flap; maxilla (upper jaw) almost or just reaching to below anterior margin of eye; teeth closely spaced, posterior teeth in lower jaw angled backwards; gill rakers absent, first gill arch with platelets, each with distinct spines. 

First dorsal-fin origin slightly posterior to origin of pelvic-fin origin; pectoral fin reaching beyond first dorsal-fin origin of first dorsal fin; caudal fin forked with a small inner lobe on each major lobe.


To 65 cm TL.


Of no interest to fisheries in Australia. Possibly taken by recreational fishermen trolling lures.



Named in honour of Johann Reinhold Forster, naturalist aboard Captain Cook’s second voyage on HMS Resolution. Forster created the illustration from which the species was described.

Species Citation

Sphyraena forsteri Cuvier, in Cuvier & Valenciennes 1829, Historie naturelle des poissons 3: 353. Type locality: New Guinea (Neotype; originally described from an illustration of a specimen from Tahiti.)


Bray, D.J. & Schultz, S. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Blackspot Barracuda, Sphyraena forsteri Cuvier 1829


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

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

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. 

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Families Sphyraenidae to Centrolophidae. pp. 774-800 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 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. 

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Jakarta : PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama 314 pp. pls. 

Morishita, S., Miki, R., Wada, H., Itou, M. & Motomura, H. 2020. Morphological comparisons of Sphyraena qenie with S. putnamae, with a revised key to Indo‑Pacific species of Sphyraena lacking gill rakers (Sphyraenidae). Ichthyological Research 67: 456-463 

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

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. 

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. 1984. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls.

Senou, H. 2001. Sphyraenidae. pp. 3685-3697 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.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:37382005

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:65 cm TL

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