Sphyraena novaehollandiae Günther, 1860, Gunther, 1860

Morishita, Satoshi & Motomura, Hiroyuki, 2020, Sphyraena stellata, anew barracudafromthe Indo-Pacific, with redescriptionsofS. helleri Jenkins, 1901 and S. novaehollandiae Günther, 1860 (Perciformes: Sphyraenidae), Zootaxa 4772 (3), pp. 545-566: 547-552

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Sphyraena novaehollandiae Günther, 1860


Sphyraena novaehollandiae Günther, 1860  

[New English name: Australian Barracuda]

( Figures 2B View FIGURE 2 , 4–6 View FIGURE 4 View FIGURE 5 View FIGURE 6 , 10 View FIGURE 10 , 11B View FIGURE 11 , D–F, 12; Tables 1, 2)

Sphyraena novaehollandiae Günther, 1860: 335   (type locality: Hobson’s Bay, Port Philip, Victoria, Australia); Kuiter 1993: 265, unnumbered fig. (southeastern Australia); Yearsley et al. 1999: 201, unnumbered fig. (southern Australia, including Tasmania); Gomon 2008: 775, unnumbered fig. (southern Australia, including Tasmania).

Holotype. BMNH 1847.6.17.37, 340.2 mm SL, Hobson’s Bay , Port Philip, Victoria, Australia.  

Non-type specimens. 14 specimens, 270.8–598.0 mm SL. AUSTRALIA: AMS IA. 658, 465.9 mm SL, AMS IA. 659, 429.9 mm SL, Esperance Bay, Western Australia, 34°03′00.0′′S, 121°48′00.0′′E, 29 Nov. 1921; AMS IA. 660, 358.9 mm SL, AMS IA. 661, 369.2 mm SL, AMS IA. 662, 361.1 mm SL, King Georges Sound, Albany, Western Australia, 35°43′12.0′′S, 117°58′12.0′′E, Nov. 1921; AMS IA. 1838, 409.7 mm SL, Wollongong, New South Wales, NSW State Fisheries, 1924; AMS I. 44768-001, 403.7 mm SL, AMS I. 44768-004, 423.8 mm SL, Cape Schanck, Victoria, 38°30′00.0′′S, 144°52′59.9′′E, spear, S. Schulz, 5 Oct. 2008; CSIRO C 4655, 285.2 mm SL, CSIRO C 4656, 270.8 mm SL, Venus Bay , South Australia, 33°12′00.0′′S, 134°40′00.0E, 24 Feb. 1975; NSMT-P 112435, 598.0 mm SL, south coast of Australia; MNHN-IC-0000-4242, 387.0 mm SL, Melbourne, Victoria, 37°46′12′′S, 144°58′12′′E; MNHN-IC-1884-0359, 326.6 mm SL, no further locality data. LOCALITY UNKNOWN: AMS I. 7539, 469.1 mm SL, 1905 GoogleMaps   .

Diagnosis. A species of Sphyraena   ( Fig. 5 View FIGURE 5 ) characterized by the following combination of characters: one gill raker on first gill arch; pelvic-fin insertion located slightly before vertical through first dorsal-fin origin; pored lateral-line scales 120–138 (modally 127), total lateral-line scales 129–146 (134); scales above and below lateral line 9–11 (10) and 11–13 (12), respectively; snout comparatively short, its length 12.2–14.0 (mean 13.2) % SL; upper jaw short, its posterior tip not reaching to below anterior nostril ( Fig. 2B View FIGURE 2 ), its length 9.2–10.7 (10.0) % SL; eye small, orbit diameter and depth 3.4–4.5 (4.0) % and 3.3–4.2 (3.7) % SL, respectively; anal-fin base long, its length 7.6–9.2 (8.5) % SL; last dorsal- and anal-fin ray lengths 3.6–4.5 (4.0) % and 3.3–4.3 (3.9) % SL, respectively; anus comparatively close to anal-fin origin, anterior and posterior margins of anus to anal-fin origin 5.8–8.0 (6.9) % and 3.1–5.1 (4.0) % HL, respectively; head sensory canal pores on suborbital area finely branched, their lowermost parts very close to lacrimal bone margin, large smooth area lacking canal pores absent on mid-margin of lacrimal bone ( Figs. 2B View FIGURE 2 , 6 View FIGURE 6 ); lateral body surface without stripes and bands; and caudal fin yellowish-gray.

Description. Counts and proportional measurements as percentages of SL are given in Table 1. Body elongate, cylindrical, moderately compressed anteriorly, progressively more compressed posteriorly. Dorsal profile rising slightly from snout tip to first dorsal-fin origin, horizontal to second dorsal-fin origin, thereafter gently lowering to caudal-fin base. Ventral profile of head and body lowering from lower-jaw tip to pelvic-fin insertion, almost parallel to body axis from pelvic-fin insertion to anal-fin origin, thereafter rising to lowermost point of caudal-fin base. Second dorsal-fin origin just above anal-fin origin. Head large, conical. Eye and pupil round, lateral on head; orbit elliptical. Nostrils close to each other, located anterior to orbit. Anterior nostril rounded, located slightly below uppermost point of orbit. Posterior nostril semicircular, short flap on anterior edge. Lower jaw longer than upper jaw. 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. Lower jaw with a single row of spaced teeth, several anterior teeth smaller; a single large, slightly recurved, caniniform tooth on symphysis of dentary; all jaw teeth ankylotic. Palatine with a single row of irregularly sized caniniform teeth. Vomer toothless. Posterior opercular margin slightly pointed, located anterior to uppermost point of pectoral-fin insertion. Branchial membrane on each side joined distally. Pectoral-fin insertion slightly below lateral-median line of body; posterior tip pointed, failing to reach vertical line through pelvic-fin insertion; uppermost ray short, rudimentary. First spine of first dorsal fin longest (second spine in some specimens), last spine shortest and joined to dorsum by fin membrane. Second dorsal fin somewhat falcate, anterior margin rising from fin origin to posterior tip of second fin ray, distal margin concave; first ray unbranched, other rays branched; last ray elongated. Posterior tip of depressed pelvic fin extending to vertical through last spine origin of first dorsal fin; all pelvic-fin rays branched, first ray longest. Anus oval, long longitudinally, positioned just before anal-fin origin. Anal fin somewhat falcate, anterior margin lowering from fin origin to posterior tip of second fin ray, distal margin concave; first spine of anal fin short, rudimentary; first ray unbranched, other rays branched; last ray slightly elongated. Caudal peduncle compressed. Caudal fin forked, without a pair of small lobes on central margin. Lateral line continuous, slightly downward from uppermost point of opercle to point just above end of anal-fin base, thereafter parallel to body axis. Body, including ventral surface from isthmus to anal-fin origin and pectoral-fin base, covered with cycloid scales. Anterior half of head without scales, except for opercular area covered with small cycloid scales and mandible with row of 4–6 embedded scales. Pelvic and anal fins and axillary region of pectoral fin lacking scales. Upper and lower gill arches with rough platelets; single gill raker long, slender and rough. Opercular gills present. Swimbladder present.

Coloration when fresh ( Fig. 5A View FIGURE 5 ). Head and body dorsally dark greenish-silver, ventrally whitish-silver. Lateral surface of body without stripes and bands. Pupil black. Pectoral fin yellowish-transparent. Dorsal-fin spines slightly yellowish-white. Spines and rays of second dorsal fin darkish gray; membrane from first spine to 2nd ray darkish translucent, the other whitish transparent. Spines and rays of pelvic and anal fins white, membrane whitish translucent. Caudal fin yellowish-gray.

Coloration in alcohol ( Fig. 5 View FIGURE 5 B–D). Body dark brown dorsally, elsewhere pale brown.

Distribution. Known only from the south coast of Australia. Specimens examined in this study were collected from southern Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, and southern New South Wales ( Fig. 4 View FIGURE 4 ). In addition, Yearsley (1999) and Gomon (2008) both recorded the species from Tasmania.

Remarks. Sphyraena novaehollandiae   was originally described by Günther (1860) on the basis of a single specimen, collected from Hobson’s Bay, South Australia. The holotype of the species (BMNH 1847.6.17.37: Fig. 5D View FIGURE 5 ) has been prepared as a dried skin. Although some authors have recorded the species elsewhere [e.g., Japan: Yoshino (1984) and Senou (1997); India: Talwar & Kacker (1984); and Mozambique: Smith (1956)], we determined that such reports were based on misidentifications of the new species described below. Senou (2000) also recognized that S. novaehollandiae   was distinct from S. helleri   and applied S. helleri   , previously synonymized under S. novaehollandiae   , to an Indo-Pacific species (= S. helleri   and S. stellata   in this study).

The maximum recorded size of the species is 1100 mm TL ( Yearsley 1999; Gomon 2008), greater than recorded for S. helleri   and S. stellata   .


Australian National Fish Collection














Sphyraena novaehollandiae Günther, 1860

Morishita, Satoshi & Motomura, Hiroyuki 2020

Sphyraena novaehollandiae Günther, 1860: 335

Gomon, M. F. 2008: 775
Yearsley, G. K. & Last, P. R. & Ward, R. D. 1999: 201
Kuiter, R. H. 1993: 265
Gunther, A. 1860: 335