Pickhandle Barracuda, Banded Barracuda, Slender Barracuda, Giant Sea Pike (Sphyraena jello)
Alu-alu, Kacang Merah, Tenak, Tenok, Titil, Pengaluan, Kekacang
Distribution: Indo-Pacific (Subtropical Seas), Indian Ocean and Western Pacific Ocean including the South China Sea.
Can reach more than 175cm. Common size 20 – 50cm. Up to 11.5 kg.
Found near prominent current-swept lagoon or seaward reefs, also in bays, estuaries and turbid inner lagoons. Diurnal and solitary, although the young form schools.
Feeds on fishes, cephalopods and sometimes on shrimps.
Is ciguatoxic* mostly throughout its range. Reports of ciguatera poisoning need confirmation for Pickhandle barracuda (Sphyraena jello).
*Ciguatera is a foodborne illness poisoning in humans caused by eating marine species whose flesh is contaminated with a toxin known as ciguatoxin, which is present in many microorganisms living in tropical waters. Predator species near the top of the food chain in tropical waters, such as barracudas, moray eels, parrotfishes, groupers, triggerfishes and amberjacks, are most likely to cause ciguatera poisoning, although many other species have been found to cause occasional outbreaks of toxicity. Ciguatoxin is very heat-resistant, so ciguatoxin-laden fish cannot be detoxified by conventional cooking.
The major symptoms will be developed just a few hours of toxin ingestion: vomiting, diarrhea, numbness of extremities, mouth and lips, reversal of hot and cold sensation, muscle and joint aches. The symptoms may last from days to weeks or even months depending on each individual situation.