Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Bairdiella ensifera, Sword-spine croaker

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

eye large
pectoral, pelvic, A & C yellowish
C: weakly angular
mouth opens at front, obique
preopercle - 2-3 strong spines
A: 2nd spine reaches C

Bairdiella ensifera (Jordan & Gilbert, 1882)

Sword-spine croaker

Body elongate, oblong, compressed; head narrow, cavernous but firm to touch; snout short, blunt; mouth large (reaching to under rear edge of eye) a ltttle oblique, opens at front; chin without barbels, with 5 pores; mouth large (reaching to under rear edge of eye), a little oblique, opens at front; teeth conical, in narrow rows; top corner of gill opening notched; lower gill rakers 16-18, total 24-26, longest gill raker longer than ½ gill filament behind it; preopercle strongly serrated with 8-12 spines, including 2-3 strong spines at angle, the lowermost directed downwards and forward; dorsal fin X, I, 22-24, deeply notched between spines and rays; anal fin II, 8-9, second anal spine very strong,  reaching tail fin base when depressed;tail fin bluntly pointed; scales rough, except smooth around eyes and on fins; pored lateral-line scales 47-55; the lateral line extends to the center of the end of the tail fin.

Color silvery with dark spot on axil of pectoral fins; pectoral, pelvic, anal and tail fins yellowish; tip of lower jaw with black lining.

Size: grows to about 35 cm.

Inhabits coastal seas, estuaries, and river mouths; feeds on crustacean larvae, shrimps, and fishes.

Depth: 1-20 m?

Southern Mexico to Peru.

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  • Marine
  • Brackish
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Mid Water
  • Bottom + water column
  • Bottom
  • Near Bottom
  • Mud
  • Estuary
  • Water column
  • Mangrove
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Bentho-Pelagic
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Carnivore
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Bony fishes
  • Pelagic crustacea
  • Data
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • Pelagic
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • All species
  • Mexican + Panamic provinces endemic
  • Continent only
  • TEP endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 35
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 20