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The Southern sennet, Sphyraena picudilla, is an ocean-going species of game fish in the Barracuda family, or Sphyraenidae. It was described by the Cuban zoologist Felipe Poey. The description was part of a two-volume work, which Poey published in 1860, entitled Historia Natural de la Isla de Cuba or "Natural History of the Island of Cuba". Southern sennet are sometimes used as a food fish, and marketed either fresh or frozen. Although they are generally harmless, Southern sennet have been linked to ciguatera poisoning.


Southern sennet, like other members of the Sphyraenidae family, possess elongated bodies, pike-like heads, and large jaws. The lower jaw protrudes slightly from the upper jaw, both of which contain fang-like teeth. They have two dorsal fins, which are widely separated on their backs. The anterior dorsal fin usually possesses spine while the posterior only has rays. Southern sennet have 6 spines, and 9 rays on their dorsal fins. they have only 2 spines and 9 rays on their anal fins. The longest recorded Southern sennet was 2 feet long; the greatest recorded weight was 2 lbs 8 oz.

Distribution and habitat

Southern sennet are known only from the western Atlantic oceanmarker from Bermudamarker, Floridamarker, and the Bahamasmarker south to Uruguaymarker. They are found in tropical climates from 32°N to 38°S. Southern sennet live in costal waters near reefs, although they are more common over muddy bottoms, at depths from 1-65 m, where they often occur in in large schools near the surface. Juveniles are commonly found over beds of seagrass.


  1. Dammann, A.E. 1969 Study of the fisheries potential of the Virgin Islands. Special Report. Contribution No. 1. Virgin Islands Ecological Research Station.
  2. IGFA 2001 Database of IGFA angling records until 2001. IGFA, Fort Lauderdale, USA.
  3. Lieske, E. and R. Myers 1994 Collins Pocket Guide. Coral reef fishes. Indo-Pacific & Caribbean including the Red Sea. Haper Collins Publishers, 400 p.
  4. Cervigón, F. 1993 Los peces marinos de Venezuela. Volume 2. Fundación Científica Los Roques, Caracas,Venezuela. 497 p

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