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Species: Calamus penna, Sheepshead Porgy

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head profile convex, not steep
top jaw slightly projecting
dark bar: eye to mouth
pectoral base - small black spot
no enlarged canines
pectoral not v long

Calamus penna (Valenciennes, 1830)

Sheepshead Porgy

Body deep, compressed; head deep, upper profile evenly convex, not steep; snout blunt, not very steep; rear nostril elongate to slit-like; mouth moderately large, reaches under front of eye; top jaw projects slightly beyond bottom jaw; top lip divided into 2 almost equal halves by a horizontal groove; bone under front of eye overlaps rear bone of top jaw; both jaws with equal-sized (none enlarged) canines at front, sides of jaws with molar teeth (3 rows above, 2 below); preopercle border smooth; dorsal fin low, XIII, 12 rays; anal fin short, III short spines, 10-11 soft rays; pectoral fin 15 (rarely 14 or 16) rays, fin not very long, may just reach origin of anal fin; cheeks and opercles scaly, but no scales on snout or between the eye and mouth; lateral line scales 45-49.

Silvery, scales with iridescent lavender, blue and yellow reflections; usually faint stripes along body; sometimes a blue-grey line under eye, no other blue or yellow markings on head; a dark brown bar under eye; a small black spot at upper base of pectoral fin blackish; live fish may have ~7 dark bars.

Size: to 46 cm.

Habitat: mainly on hard bottoms

Depth: 3-128 m.

N Carolina to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Mud
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 46
Depth Range Min
  • 3
Depth Range Max
  • 128