Barracouta (Thyrsites atum), manga of the Maoris, is a long narrow fish attaining a length of almost 4 ft and a weight of 8 lb. It is found throughout New Zealand and Australia and extends both to South Africa and to South America, usually occurring in surface schools. It is predacious and is notable for the unrelenting fury with which it attacks other fish, sometimes larger than itself. The teeth are long and pointed like needles. The upper part of the body is dark grey with bluish reflections and the lower part silvery grey. The barracouta is most abundant in the South Island, where it is regarded as an important edible fish.
by Arthur William Baden Powell, Assistant Director, Auckland Institute and Museum.