Sharpchin barracudina, Paralepis coregonides.

Sharpchin Barracudina, Paralepis coregonides

The sharpchin barracudina resembles the white barracudina, with which it shares the North Atlantic and adjacent Arctic Oceans. The two species share many morphological traits: scales that easily fall off, smooth-edged teeth in their lower jaws, and pectoral fins that are shorter than their anal fin, and the smae maximum length of 30 cm. However, the sharpchin barracudina has a more distinctive fork to its tail, a more pronounced triangular shape to its sharply angled anal fin, and a pectoral fin that is located anteriorly to its dorsal fin. The sharpchin is also darker in colour, with dusky black or brown on a silvery body.

This barracudina chases shrimp and small fishes at depths greater than 200 m, ingesting about 4 times its own body weight every year. It has been found in the stomachs of Atlantic salmon and cod. It appears to be swallowed tail first – a clue to the battles of the depths; this hunter must use its speed in an attempt to outrace predators, as well as to pursue its own meals.

Occasionally, both sharpchin and white barracudinas are washed up on the shores of the Arctic. It is assumed that these stranded fish die as a result of straying too far north, where they freeze to death in the frigid Arctic Ocean.