Catesby Volume II: The Barracuda

Mark Catesby's
Description of the Barracuda


(Umbla Minor marina maxillis longioribus)

This fish grows to a large size and some of them I have seen ten feet in length, and some, I was told, are much longer though the more common length is that of about six or eight feet. It is long in proportion to its thickness, and in shape resembles somewhat the European Pike. The eyes are large and bright; the mouth is very wide, having the under jaw longer than the upper; the upper jaw is armed with four large teeth, placed at the fore part of the underjaw; next the head are placed ten smaller teeth. The flesh has a very rank and disagreeable flavour both to nose and palate, and is frequently poisonous, causing great sickness, vomiting and intolerable pain in the head, …yet the hungry Bahamians frequently repast on their unwholesome carcusses.