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  • uniform silvery
    Bairdiella chrysoura, Silver croaker, Silver perch
    A 9; 2nd spine thin, < 1st ray
  • flanks: faintly striped
    Bairdiella ronchus, Ground croaker
    A 8; 2nd spine thick, ~1st ray
  • dark + stripes
    D 25-29
    Corvula batabana, Blue croaker
    mouth slightly under snout
    gill rakers 18-22
    preoperculum finely serrated
    A 7-8, 2nd spine 33-40% head
  • pale + stripes
    D 22-24
    Corvula sanctaeluciae, Striped croaker
    mouth opens at front
    gill rakers 23-25
    preoperculum thin, ~smooth
    A 9; 2nd spine 28-31% head
  • oblong
    head large & spongy, eye large
    C punta roma
    mouth oblique
    chin: 1 thin flexible poreless barbel
    preopercle weakly serrated, membranous
    pectoral dark spot
    A II, weak
  • plain color
    D2 17-22, 2-3 rows scales on base
    C blunt point
    Cynoscion acoupa, Acoupa Weakfish
    inner lower teeth: larger at rear
    A 8
    pectoral ~ pelvic
    body scales rough, =/> LL scales
  • uniform color
    D1 25-29, few basal scale rows
    C S shaped
    Cynoscion arenarius, Sand seatrout, Sand Weakfish
    inner lower teeth: rear larger, widely spaced
    A 10-12
    pectoral > pelvic
    body scales rough, =/> LL scales
  • faint streaks along scale rows above LL
    D2 23-27, lower 1/2 scaled
    C straight/doubly concave
    Cynoscion jamaicensis, Jamaica Weakfish
    inner lower teeth: rear larger, widely spaced
    gill rakers 9-13
    pectoral > pelvic
    body scales rough, =/> LL scales
  • uniform
    D2 & C: black edges
    D2 1-2 basal rows scales
    C straight/doubly concave
    Cynoscion leiarchus, Smooth Weakfish
    inner lower teeth: uniform size, close-set
    A 10-12
    pectoral < pelvic
    body scales small, smooth, < LL scales
  • uniform color
    D2 22-25, almost covered with scales
    C angular point
    Cynoscion microlepidotus, Smallscale Weakfish
    inner lower teeth: rear larger, widely spaced
    A 8-10
    pectoral < pelvic
    body scales v small, smooth, < LL scales
  • back & D: scattered spots
    D2: 2-3 rows scales along base
    C slighly concave
    Cynoscion nebulosus, Spotted seatrout, Spotted Weakfish
    inner lower teeth uniform size, close-set
    pectoral < pelvic
    body scales large, rough, =/> LL scales
  • back: faint oblique dotted stripes
    D 26-31, lower 1/2 covered with small scales
    C straight/blunt point
    Cynoscion nothus, Silver seatrout, Silver Weakfish
    inner lower teeth: rear larger, widely spaced_x000d_
    A 8-11
    pectoral < pelvic
    body scales large, rough, =/> LL scales
  • upper body: irregular, interconnected dotted stripes
    D2 inner 1/2 scale covered
    C straight/slightly concave
    Cynoscion regalis, the Weakfish, Gray Weakfish
    inner lower teeth: rear larger, widely spaced
    A 11-13
    pectoral > pelvic
    body scales large, rough, =/larger than LL scales
  • back: oblique dotted lines along scale rows
    D2 24-28, 2-3 rows scales at base
    C straight/slightly concave
    Cynoscion similis, Tonkin Weakfish
    inner lower teeth close-set, central strongest
    inside operculum black
    pectoral > pelvic
    body scales laarge, rough, =/> LL scales
  • uniform
    inside mouth orange
    D2 27-31, 1-2 rows scales at base
    C angular point
    Cynoscion virescens, Green Weakfish
    inner row teeth: distinctly larger, rear larger, widely spaced
    A 8-9
    pectoral > pelvic
    body scales small, smooth, < LL scales
  • 3 oblique bars, no stripes
    D 47-55
    Equetus lanceolatus, Jack-knife fish
    fins pale, no spots
    juv: last bar D to C; line on snout; pectoral clear
    pectoral 15-16
  • 3 oblique bars + stripes
    D, A & C spotted
    D 45-47
    Equetus punctatus, Spotted drum
    juv: last bar - D to C, snout -oval spot, pectoral - black stripe
    pectoral 17-18
  • elongate
    D: space between 2 parts
    Isopisthus parvipinnis, Shortfin corvina
    front top jaws: 2 large, curved canines
    preoperculum finely serrated
    A II (small), 16-20
  • oblong, humped
    v short snout
    mouth v oblique, lower jaw projecting
    Larimus breviceps, Shorthead drum
    plain body
    gill rakers 28-33
  • oblong, humped
    v short snout
    mouth v oblique, lower jaw projecting
    Larimus fasciatus, Banded drum
    7-9 dark bars
    gill rakers 34-36
  • oblong, humped
    Leiostomus xanthurus, Spot croaker, the Spot
    snout overhangs small, horizontal mouth
    back - oblique stripes
    start LL: dark blotch
    preopercle smooth
    A: 12-13
  • Lonchurus elegans, Blackfin croaker
    barbels: chin tuft 3 pr, lower jaws - 10-12 pr
    gill rakers: 7-9 short, stour
    pectoral reaches past A
  • Lonchurus lanceolatus, Longtail croaker
    barbels: chin 2 slender, jaws none
    gill rakers: 15-18 long, slender
    pectoral reaches almost to C
  • elongate
    mouth large, oblique
    A II (short, weak), 8-9
    Macrodon ancylodon, King Weakfish
    teeth = sharp arrowheads; front teeth - large, top 2 v large
    preoperculum soft, weakly toothed
    C - S shape
  • 8-9 faint oblique bars, no flank stripe
    D relatively low
    Menticirrhus americanus, Southern kingfish
    throat - no molar teeth
    pectoral long
    A 7
    breast scales not smaller than others
  • plain silver
    C: top tip black
    Menticirrhus littoralis, Gulf kingcroaker, Gulf kingfish
    throat - molar teeth
    pectoral short
    A 7
    breast scales much smaller than others
  • 5-6 oblique bars + dark stripe under LL
    D relatively high
    Menticirrhus saxatilis, Northern kingcroaker, Northern kingfish
    throat - no molar teeth
    pectoral long
    A 8
    breast scales not much smaller than others
  • back & sides: oblique wavy lines
    D 26-27
    Micropogonias furnieri, Whitemouth croaker
    D origin to LL 6-7 scales
  • back: dark spots, flank - oblique lines
    pectoral base dark
    D 27-30
    Micropogonias undulatus, Atlantic croaker
    D origin to LL 8-9 scales
  • elongate, rounded, tapering
    head round, spongy; eye very small
    Nebris microps, Small-eye croaker
    mouth large, oblique, lower jaw projects
  • oblong
    eye large
    pectoral base black
    Odontoscion dentex, Reef croaker
    mouth oblique
    front lower jaw: 1 pr canines
    dark grey + spots on scales
  • relatively slender
    pale body & fins
    preopercle 12 spines
    D 22-24
    Ophioscion gomezi, Longspine croaker
    gill rakers 6-7 + 11-13
    A 6-7, 2nd spine thick, long
    LL 50-51
  • fins black
    preopercle 8-9 small spines
    D 19-21
    Ophioscion panamensis, Panama croaker
    gill rakers 6-7 + 11-14
    A 6-7, 2nd spine thick, long
    LL 47-49
  • body robust
    blackish body & fins
    preopercle 8-9 small teeth
    D 22-25
    Ophioscion punctatissimus, Spotted croaker
    gill rakers 7-8 + 13-16
    A 7-8, 2nd spine thin, short
    LL 52-54
  • elongate, rounded, humped
    head low, mouth under snout
    7-9 bars; dark blotch start LL
    C angular point
    barbels: chin - 3 pr, lower jaw - row 8-22
    A: II (small)
  • white + 3-5 broad stripes + narrow stripes in between
    spiny D relatively high
    Pareques acuminatus, the Highhat
    juv: bar between eyes; 2 spots on snout, pectoral black
  • broad bar: across eyes
    broad bar: D1 to pelvics + mid-flank thin stripe
    spiny D relatively high
    Pareques iwamotoi, Gulf cubbyu, Blackbar drum
    juv: like adult + bar on snout
  • dark body & fins; body many fine dark stripes
    spiny D relatively low
    Pareques umbrosus, the cubbyu
    juv: black oval on snout; pectorals colorless
  • oblong
    head low, mouth under snout
    Pogonias cromis, Black drum
    barbels: chin - 3 pr, lower jaw - row 8-22
    grey to v dark
    juv: 4-5 dark bars, fins dark
    preopercle smooth
    A II, 5-7
  • eye v large
    black inside gill cover & mouth
    D2 21-23
    Protosciaena bathytatos, Deepwater drum
    preopercle strongly serrated
  • eye v large
    black inside gill cover & mouth
    D2 24-26
    Protosciaena trewavasae, New Granada drum
    preopercle smooth/weakly serrated
  • elongate; lower profile straight
    copper, tail base & C base- 1+ large ocelli
    snout overhangs small, horizontal mouth
  • head low, wide, spongy, translucent
    Stellifer chaoi, Chao stardrum
    chin 4 pores
    mouth large, oblique, opens at front
    dark band behind front teeth
    gill rakers long, 43-49, 1st arch dark
    preoperculum 6-9 spines
    scales atop head smooth + 1-2 rows rough on center nape
  • head low, wide, translucent, not spongy
    eye small
    top lip: dark moustache
    Stellifer colonensis, Colon stardrum
    chin 6 pores
    mouth opens slightly under snout
    no dark band behind teeth
    gill rakers 27-34, 1st arch pale
    preopercle 4-6 spines
  • head low, wide, spongy, translucent
    inside gill chamber dark
    D 21-23
    centerline nape: 0-few rough scales, not in rows
    Stellifer griseus, Grey stardrum
    gill rakers 52-59
    chin 6 pores
    preopercle 2 strong spines
  • head low, wide, spongy, translucent
    eye large
    Stellifer lanceolatus, Star drum, American stardrum
    chin 6 pores
    mouth opens at front
    no dark band behind teeth
    gill rakers 32-36, 1st arch pale
    preoperculum 4-6 strong spines
  • head low, wide, spongy, translucent
    eye small
    D X
    Stellifer magoi, Mago stardrum
    mouth opens at front
    lower jaw: central row teeth not enlarged
    preopercle > 4 spines
    gill rakers short, 27-29
    pelvic long
    scales atop nape rough to between eyes
  • head low, wide, spongy, translucent
    eye small
    D1 X
    Stellifer microps, Small-eye stardrum
    lower jaw: center row teeth slightly enlarged
    gill rakers short, 20-24
    preopercle >10 spines
    A 9
    head scales smooth, 1-3 rows rough scales center nape
  • head low, wide, spongy, translucent
    eye large
    D X
    Stellifer naso, Naso stardrum
    mouth under snout
    lower jaw: central row teeth not enlarged
    gill rakers short, 22-26
    preopercle 7-10 short spines
    pelvic short
    scales atop head rough to between eyes
  • head low, wide, spongy, translucent
    D 21-23
    Stellifer rastrifer, Rake stardrum
    gill rakers 40-50
    chin 6 pores
    preopercle 2 strong spines
    inside operculum & mouth black
    scales smooth on head except centerline nape: 1-several rows rough scales_x000d_
  • head low, wide, spongy, translucent
    operculum & roof mouth black
    Stellifer species A, Alpha stardrum
    mouth opens under snout
    chin 6 pores
    gill rakers long, 37-40
    preopercle 6-9 spines
  • head cónical, deep, not spongy
    D1 XI
    Stellifer species C, McAllister’s stardrum
    lower teeth: center row slightly enlarged
    chin 6 pores
    gill rakers 28-32
    preopercle 6-7 short spines
    A 8
    1-3 rows rough scales on centerline of nape
  • head low, wide, spongy, translucent
    D 17-20
    Stellifer stellifer, Southern stardrum
    gill rakers 33-39
    preoperculum: 3 strong spines
    head scales smooth
  • head low, wide, firm, with front ridges
    eye large
    D X
    Stellifer venezuelae, Venezuelan stardrum
    mouth under snout
    lower jaw: central row teeth not enlarged
    gill rakers short, 25-31
    preopercle 7-10 short spines
    pelvic short
    scales atop head rough to between eyes
  • stripes on back parallel to LL
    D 23-26
    Umbrina broussonnetii, Striped croaker
    gill rakers 13-15
    A 6
    D origin to LL 5-6 scales
    scale rows under spiny D parallel to LL
  • stripes on back oblique to LL
    D 26-31
    Umbrina coroides, Sand drum
    gill rakers 13-15
    A 6
    D origin to LL 7-8 scales
    scale rows under spiny D oblique to LL
  • plain body, black under opercle
    large eye
    D 22-23
    Umbrina milliae, Miller drum
    gill rakers 19-20
    chin barbel - front pore
    A 8