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Species: Stellifer lanceolatus, Star Drum

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head low, wide, spongy, translucent
eye large
chin 6 pores
mouth opens at front
no dark band behind teeth
gill rakers 32-36, 1st arch pale
preoperculum 4-6 strong spines

Stellifer lanceolatus (Holbrook, 1855)

Star Drum

Body oblong, robust, moderately compressed; head low and broad, concave on nape, skull cavernous and spongy to touch; eyes relatively large (18-23% of head); mouth large, strongly oblique, opens at front, top lip usually above level of lower edge of eye; no barbels on chin, but 6 pores; preopercle with 4-6 strong bony spines at angle; gill rakers long and slender, 32-36, densely packed; top corner of gill opening notched; dorsal fin XI-XII + I, 21-25, deep notch between spiny and soft parts of fin; anal fin II, 8-9, 2nd spine ~2/3 of 1st ray; tail fin long, sharply to bluntly pointed; pored lateral line scales 53-56; scales rough on body, mostly smooth on chest, smooth on head; soft dorsal with 2-3 rows of small scales along its base; the lateral line extends to the center of the end of the tail fin.

Silvery grey to olive above, sometimes with a pinkish cast, pale below; fins pale to dusky, tip of 1st dorsal dark; inside gill chamber with black speckling; no dark band at front behind teeth; 1st gill arch pale.

Reaches 20 cm.

Hard sandy mud bottoms, including estuaries and brackish water

Depth range: 0-20 m.

Chesapeake Bay to the NW Caribbean.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 20
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 20