Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Sciaenops ocellatus, Red drum

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elongate, lower profile straight
snout overhangs horizontal mouth
copper, 1-3 ocelli on top tail base
A 8-9, 2nd spine slender, 1/2 1st ray



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 weight.

Habitat Sandy and muddy bottoms.

Depth range 0-27 m.

Native to the eastern US, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Note: Introduced to Ecuador in 1974 for aquaculture purposes, escaped and still present there in the 1990s; its current status is not known.

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  • Marine
  • Brackish
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Soft bottom only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Sand & gravel
  • Beach
  • Mud
  • Mangrove
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • No Data
  • Carnivore
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Data
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Exotic (Introduced)
  • TEP non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Eastern Pacific non-endemic
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
IUCN Red List
  • Not evaluated / Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 160
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 27