Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Archosargus probatocephalus, Sheepshead bream, the Sheepshead

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6-7 dark bars

Archosargus probatocephalus (Walbaum, 1792)


Body oval, somewhat compressed, back humped; head small, blunt, with asymetrical convex, profiles; eye moderate; mouth small, opens at front; bone under front of eye overlaps rear bone of top jaw; front teeth large, with wide, flattened, unnotched tips, 3 rows of molars on sides of top jaws; margin of preopercle smooth; dorsal fin long & low, XII, front spine (sometimes skin covered) projects forwards, 11 rays; anal short, III, 9-10, second spine very strong; pectoral long, much longer than pelvic, reaching level of second anal spine; caudal fin forked; lateral-line scales 48; cheeks and opercles scaly, but no scales on snout or between the eye and mouth.

Grey; 5-6 (rarely 4 or 7) dark vertical bars on body and one on nape, slightly narrower than interspaces; fins pale (dark in juvenile).

Size: grows to at least 92 cm.

Habitat: inshore, rocky and other hard bottoms, entering brackish water

Depth: 0-15 m.

Nova Scotia to the southern Caribbean. Its sister in Brazil is A. aries.

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Species Data Create Report Export as Word File Export as Excel File
  • Marine
  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Rocks
  • Freshwater
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Estuary
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Omnivore
  • Data
  • Sessile molluscs
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Sponges/seasquirts/bryozoa
  • Bony fishes
  • Sessile crustacea
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • Data
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • All species.
Regional Endemism
  • Extends North of GC
  • Continent
  • Extends South of GC
  • Also in Brazil
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species..
  • Continent only
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 92
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 15