Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Ophioscion scierus, Dusky croaker, Tuza croaker

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

dark lines along scale rows
D 24-26
C: round or S shape
preopercle: 8-10 strong teeth
gill rakers 18-23
A: 2nd spine thick, long, 7

Ophioscion scierus (Jordan & Gilbert, 1884)

Dusky croaker, Tuza croaker

Body elongate, more or less compressed; head low and short, cavernous but firm to touch on top; eye relatively small (4.7-6.0 in head length);  snout scarcely projecting in front of upper jaw; small, horizontal mouth; teeth simple in bands, those in outer row of upper jaw slightly enlarged; snout with 3 upper pores and 5 on sides; chin with 5 pores, without barbels; gill rakers short (< ½ length of gill filaments at angle of arch), 18-23; margin of preopercle with ~ 8-10 strong teeth; dorsal fin continuous but deeply notched, X + I, 24-26, second dorsal spine strong, about two-thirds length of third spine; anal rays II, 7, 2nd  spine long; pectoral fins relatively long, reaching past tips of depressed pelvic fins, but not reaching level of anus; tail margin S shaped; scales on body and all or most of head rough; soft dorsal and anal with a scaly sheath; pored lateral-line scales 48-52.  

Dark silvery with dusky scale margins, forming oblique lines; fins dusky brownish, except pelvics sometimes whitish.

Size: grows to 35 cm.

Inhabits coastal waters, including bays and river mouths.

Depth: 1-20 m.

SE Gulf of California to Peru.

An undescribed species of Ophioscion  similar to O scierus is known from Magdalena Bay, Baja California.  It differs from O scierus in having a relatively large eye (4.2-4.3 in head length), its snout with 5 upper pores; 16-17 gill rakers; and the margin of the tail fin rounded.

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