Plate Number: II 1
Umbla Minor, marina maxillus longioribus: Barracuda
This Fish grows to a large Size; some of them I have seen ten Feet in Length, and some I was told are much longer, tho' the more common Length is that of about six or eight Feet. It is long in Proportion to its Thickness. And in Shape resembles somewhat the European Pike; the Eyes are large and bright, the Mouth is very wide, having the under Jaw longer than the upper; the upper Jaw is armed with four large Teeth, placed at the fore Part of the under Jaw Next the Head are placed ten smaller Teeth, being five on each Side; and in the forepart of the same Jaw grows one single large Tooth. On the Back grow two short Fins, distant from one another, with six Ribs in each Fin; near the Gills grow two more at a like Distance, lower on the Belly, was another Pair, and a single one a little behind the Anus; in all seven Fins. The Tail wide and forked.
This Fish was covered with thin Scales of a middling Size; dark brown on the Back, lightning gradually to the Belly, which was white. It is a swift Swimming, and very voracious Fish, preying on most others; and some of the largest Size have frequently attacked and devoured Men as they were washing in the Sea. They are in great Plenty in all the shallow Seas of the Bahama-Islands, and in many other Places between the Tropicks, the Flesh has a very rank and disagreeable Savour both to the Nose and Palate, and are frequently poisonous, causing great Sickness, Vomiting, and intolerable Pain in the Head, with loss of Hair and Nails; yet the hungry Bahamians, frequently repast on their unwholesome Carcasses.
The Length of this Fish is usually about sixteen inches and very small and tapering towards the Tail, which is remarkably wide and forked: The Mouth is pretty wide with a single Row of small sharp Teeth in each Mandible. It is covered with somewhat large thin Scales of an Umber Colour on the Back and whitish on the Belly. It hath five Fins, one on the Back, another a little below it on the Belly; and another between that and the Tail, with a Pair under the Gills.