PORT PHILLIP BAY


Barracouta 

Thyrsites atun

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Dorsal fin spines/rays: XIX-XXI; 11-13; 5-7 finlets
Anal fin spines/rays: I, 10-12; 5-7 finlets
Caudal fin rays: 17
Pectoral fin rays: 14-15
Ventral fin spines/rays: I, 5
Lateral line: 175-185

Interpreting fin count meristics.
Spines are in Roman numerals and soft rays are in Arabic numerals. Spines and rays that are continuous in one fin are separated by a comma. Fin sections are separated by semicolons.

Detailed descriptions of fin count and other meristics are in:
Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) (2008) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Order level detail.
A large and highly diverse group of modern bony fishes many of which have a generalized perch like body form. Most have pelvic fins with one spine and 5 rays and the maxillary bone is excluded from the gape of the mouth. Interrelationships of the group are poorly understood and continue to be studied. They inhabit almost all aquatic habitats from high-altitude strams to the deep sea, although most are marine.

Family level detail.
Medium to large predatory fishes with a protruding lower jaw and strong, often fang like teeth; spinous first dorsal fin clearly separated from and with a longer fin base than the second dorsal fin; several detached finlets following dorsal and anal fins; pelvic fins small or absent; tail large, forked.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Actinopterygii
Order:
Perciformes
Family:
Gempylidae
Genus:
Thyrsites
Species:
atun

General Description

Body elongate, dorsal and anal fins followed by 5-6 detached finlets; tail base without fleshy lateral keels; teeth pointed, upper jaw with 3-4 fang like teeth at front and row of smaller triangular teeth laterally. Steel blue on back, silvery below, first dorsal fin black, margins of soft dorsal and pectoral fins black. To 1.4 m.

Biology

These voracious predators are commonly seen in large schools. They feed on krill and small schooling fishes. The species was the focus of early fisheries along the Victorian and Tasmanian coasts.

Habitat

Warm temperate waters, usually at the surface when inshore, sometimes entering estuaries and open bays, to depth of 120 m.

Open water

Distribution guide

Southern Hemisphere. Southern Australia.

Species Group

Fishes Barracoutas and gemfishes

Depth

Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

Midwater Surface

Max Size

1.4 m

Diet

Carnivore

Harmful

Not thought to be harmful but potential for injury from sharp pointed teeth.

Commercial Species

Yes

Global Dispersal

Recorded in Australia

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author Bray, D.J.

Di Bray is a Senior Collection Manager of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Gomon, M.F.

Dr. Martin Gomon is a Senior Curator of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F., 2011, Barracouta, Thyrsites atun, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 19 Sep 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/6473

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