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Species: Sciaenops ocellatus, Red Drum

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elongate; lower profile straight
copper, tail base & C base- 1+ large ocelli
snout overhangs small, horizontal mouth

Sciaenops ocellatus (Linnaeus, 1766)

Red Drum

Body elongate, lower profile horizontal; snout overhangs small, horizontal mouth; teeth simple, in bands on jaws; chin without barbells, with 5 pores; snout with 10 pores; 12-14 short, stout gill rakers; preopercle smooth in adult, densely serrated in juvenile; top corner of gill opening notched; dorsal fin continuous, IX + I, with deep notch between spines and rays, 23-25 soft rays; anal fin with short base, II, 8-9, 2nd spine slender, ~ ½ length of 1st ray; tail fin with straight edge in adult, angular point in juvenile; scales rough on body, smooth on head and breast; soft dorsal with 1-2 rows of scales along base; inner ½ of tail fin scaled; the lateral line extends to the center of the end of the tail fin.

Iridescent coppery silver, 1 to several ocellated eye-sized spots under soft dorsal fin and onto tail base, sometimes an ocellus on lower tail fin base.

Reaches 160 cm, 45 kg.

Habitat: sandy and muddy bottoms.

Depth range: 0-27 m.

Maine to the Gulf of Mexico.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Beach
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
  • Mangrove
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 160
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 27