This predator is seen often in schools hunting for fish. They appear light silver in colour to help them blend in with the background while on the hunt. They are highly developed and streamlined and make use of their very
powerful tail for high speed bursts while intercepting their prey. Their teeth are very sharp, sometimes protruding slightly from their gaping mouths. The pickhandle barracuda are mostly seen in the water column and sometime form a loose circle. They are usually seen below 20m and rarely visit the surface.
Often mistaken for similar barracuda species, the sawtooth barracuda is found in the tropical waters of the western Indo-Pacific. Its exact distribution is uncertain; however, it has
been reported from the Red Sea to South Africa in the west of its range, and from Japan to Fiji in the east of its range. Sawtooth barracuda are typically found at depths of up to 20 metres, and often form large shoals. They are nocturnal hunters, and favour areas with plenty of current, including bays, lagoons and shallow reefs.
They are silver in colour, with distinctive dark vertical stripes that intersect their lateral line (a series of sensory cells used to detect movement in the water). Sawtooth barracuda reach 60 centimetres on average, although records of 90 centimetre fish exist.
Also known as chevron barracuda, the blackfin barracuda is a wide-spread species found throughout the Indo-Pacific from the Persian Gulf to French Polynesia. It is also found in some areas of the
eastern Pacific, including Mexico and Panama. Blackfin barracuda look very similar to sawtooth barracuda, boasting the same dark, vertical bars on their silver bodies. However, they are noticeably larger in size, with a maximum length of 170 centimetres.
They form large schools that frequent the same patch of reef for months or even years at a time, dispersing every night to hunt alone. Not yet classified by the IUCN Red List, their conservation status is uncertain. However, an association with ciguatera food poisoning may make them dangerous for human consumption.