Guaguanche (Sphyraena guachancho)

Guaguanche (Sphyraena guachancho)

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.


Silvery olive-brown above, the guaguanche has 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.


The guaguanche can grow to 2 feet, although it more commonly measures 6 to 14 inches.


Guaguanche feed on fish and shrimp.

Other Names

guachanche barracuda; Spanish: picuda guaguanche; French: bécune guachanche.


Found occasionally in Florida, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean, guaguanche occur from Massachusetts to the northern Gulf of Mexico and south to Brazil.


Guaguanche inhabit shallow and generally turbid coastal waters, including sand flats, grassbeds, mud bottoms, bays, and estuaries, although they are rare around reefs. The guaguanche is a schooling species, forming schools at depths from 3 to 40 feet, and can be found near the surface at night.