Yellow-striped Barracuda, Sphyraena stellata Satoshi & Motomura 2020

Yellow-striped Barracuda, Sphyraena stellata, in Fiji. Source: Mark Rosenstein / iNaturalist. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike


A small silvery barracuda with two narrow yellow or brassy stripes along the side, and a greyish caudal fin.

In Australia, this species was previously known as Sphyraena helleri, which occurs in the Hawaiian Islands.

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

Yellow-striped Barracuda, Sphyraena stellata Satoshi & Motomura 2020

More Info


Coral sea off the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the Indo-west-central Pacific: Madagascar, Maldives, southern Japan, including the Ryukyu Islands, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and oceanic islands in the Pacific Ocean ( Johnston Atoll, Marshall Island, Phoenix Islands, French Polynesia, Hawaii, Pitcairn Islands, and Easter Island). In Australian waters, the distribution range is uncertain due to problems with identification. 

A schooling species usually found near coral reefs and in lagoons.


Dorsal fin VI, 9; Anal fin II, 7-9; Lateral-line, pored scales 134-141, total lateral-line scales 139-148; Scales above lateral line 15-17, scales below lateral line 14-16; Gill rakers 1.

Snout relatively short, 13.6-15.8 % SL; upper jaw short, posterior tip not reaching to below anterior nostril; upper jaw with a single row of numerous small teeth; 2 pairs of large, recurved, caniniform teeth on symphysis of premaxillary, anterior pair shorter than posterior pair; eye small; posterior opercular margin rounded, located anterior to uppermost point of pectoral-fin insertion.

Pelvic-fin origin slightly before vertical through first dorsal-fin origin; anal-fin base relatively short; anus not close to anal-fin origin; caudal fin forked, without a pair of small lobes on central margin.

Head sensory canal pores on suborbital area simple or slightly branched, their lowermost parts not close to margin of lacrimal bone, large smooth area lacking canal pores on mid-margin of lacrimal bone.


To 60 cm.


Head and body yellowish-greenish-silver (blackish) above, silvery-white below. Two narrow yellow stripes on side, upper stripe from upper margin of opercle to centre of caudal-fin base on lateral-line scales, lower line from uppermost point of pectoral-fin insertion to lower caudal-fin base. Jaws and lips silvery-white. Pupil black. Pectoral fin darkish transparent, a small black blotch on uppermost point of pectoral-fin base. Spines of first dorsal fin whitish-grey. Spines and rays of second dorsal fin darkish grey; membrane darkish transparent. Pelvic fin white white, membrane whitish translucent (rarely with a small black blotch on pelvic-fin insertion). Anal-fin spines whitish, fin membrane whitish translucent. Caudal fin grey.



Similar Species


The specific name is from the Latin stellata (= starry) in reference to the two yellow lateral stripes on the body.

Species Citation

Sphyraena stellata Morishita & Motomura 2020, Zootaxa 4772(3): 552, Figs. 2C, 7-9, 11C. Type locality: Off Okidomari Port, Okinoerabu-jima Island, Amami Islands, Japan, 27°24'16"N, 128°32'57"E, depth 20 m.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Yellow-striped Barracuda, Sphyraena stellata Satoshi & Motomura 2020


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

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) (as Sphyraena helleri)

Morishita, S. & Motomura, H. 2020. Sphyraena stellata, a new barracuda from the Indo-Pacific, with redescriptions of S. helleri Jenkins, 1901 and S. novaehollandiae Günther, 1860 (Perciformes: Sphyraenidae). Zootaxa 4772(3): 545-566.

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. (as Sphyraena helleri)

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. (as Sphyraena helleri)

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. (in part as Sphyraena helleri)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37382011

Depth:to 60 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:60 cm SL

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CAAB distribution map