A member of the barracuda family, the guaguanche is a long, slender, silvery fish often mistaken for a young great barracuda. There is no concerted sportfishing effort for the species, but it is occasionally caught by anglers.
guachanche barracuda; Spanish: picuda guaguanche;
French: bécune guachanche.
Identification of Guaguanche
Silvery olive-brown above, they have silvery sides with a yellow to golden stripe running along the middle of its body. Like other members of the barracuda family, it has an elongated body and large canine and shearing teeth. Its caudal fin is large, forked, and blackish, and it has widely separated dorsal fins. The pelvic fin begins below a point just in front of the first dorsal fin, which distinguishes it from the similar-looking sennet. On the young guaguanche, there are three broad bars at the rear of the body that are often interrupted in the middle of each side.
Size of Guaguanche
They can grow to 2 feet, although it more commonly measures 6 to 14 inches.
They feed on fish and shrimp.
Found occasionally in Florida, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean, guaguanche occur from Massachusetts to the northern Gulf of Mexico and south to Brazil.
They inhabit shallow and generally turbid coastal waters, including sand flats, grassbeds, mud bottoms, bays, and estuaries, although they are rare around reefs. They are schooling species, forming schools at depths from 3 to 40 feet, and can be found near the surface at night.