Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Odontoscion dentex, Reef Croaker

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eye large
pectoral base black
mouth oblique
front lower jaw: 1 pr canines
dark grey + spots on scales

Odontoscion dentex (Cuvier in Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1830)

Reef Croaker

Body short, oblong, moderately compressed; head low, snout conical; eye large; tip of lower jaw with slight knob; mouth fairly large, slightly oblique, lower jaw projecting; chin with 4 pores, snout with 8; chin without barbels; both jaws with row of large teeth, widely spaced, set on narrow ridges on jaws, a pair of canines at tip of lower jaw; 19-25 long and stiff gill rakers; preopercle smooth; top corner of gill opening notched;dorsal rays XI-XII+I, 23-26; anal rays II, 8-9, 2nd spine ~3/4 1st ray; anal fin with short base, 2nd spine strong, at least 80% of length of 1st ray; tail margin straight or slightly rounded; scales large, rough on body, smooth on head (except rough on opercle); soft dorsal completely covered with small scales, plus 2-3 rows of larger scales along its base; the lateral line extends to the center of the end of the tail fin.

Dark grey, with dark dots on scales; inside gill cover dark; a large black spot on base of pectoral fin.

Size: to about 30 cm.

Inhabits shallow coastal reefs and nearby sand-mud bottoms.

Depth: 1-30 m.

The Gulf of Mexico to NE 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)
  • Corals
  • Mud
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Pelagic fish larvae
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
  • 30
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 30