Sciaenops ocellatus (Linnaeus, 1766), Carolina, (United States).
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Redfish, channel bass; French: Tambour rouge; Spanish: Corvinуn ocelado.
Body elongate with a somewhat large head, subterminal mouth, two dorsal fins, and a truncate caudal fin. The anal fin has two spines and the lateral line is continuous. Body color is coppery-orange to light red; ventral surfaces are white. The upper caudal peduncle has a prominent black spot. Grows to about 61 in (155 cm) in total length, although less so inshore compared to fishes living around barrier islands.
Western Atlantic, from Massachusetts south to southern Florida and west to northern Mexico in the Gulf of Mexico.
Inshore coastal waters and estuaries, over sand, mud, or oystershell bottoms, among flooded marsh grasses, or in the surf zone.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Forages along the bottom in search of crustaceans, mollusks, and smaller fishes; will also form aggregations and attack schools of baitfish in shallow water.
Occurs singly or in aggregations. Communicates by using muscle contractions to make a drumming noise that is amplified by the swim bladder.
Forms spawning aggregations, mainly from August through November. Males produce a drumming noise when courting females. Eggs are scattered and the larvae are pelagic.
Not listed by the IUCN. Fisheries are heavily regulated in most places, as this species was severely overfished in the Gulf of Mexico during the 1980s.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Once important in commercial fisheries but less so by the beginning of the twenty-first century. An important recreational species that is collected also for large public aquaria. Raised in aquaculture.
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