About This Fish

Croaker


The croaker (Micropogonias undulatus) is a ray finned fish which belongs to the family Sciaenidae under Order Perciformes of Class Actinopterygii. It is also known as Atlantic croaker, hardhead, King Billies, Grumblers etc. It is found on the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts southward and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. It occurs usually over mud and sandy mud bottoms in coastal waters and in estuaries.



The croaker's body is elongated and moderately compressed. The fish is silvery overall with a faint pinkish-bronze cast. The back and upper sides are grayish. Brassy or brown spots are present on the sides which form wavy lines while young is silvery and iridescent. The gill cover has three to five prominent spines and lower jaw has 3-5 pairs of small barbells. Lateral lone is complete which runs from operculum to caudal fin. Mouth is inferior and horizontal with double concave caudal fin. Dorsal fin is deeply notched with 10 spines in the anterior portion whereas 1 spine and 26-30 soft rays are present in the posterior portion. Its food consists of marine worms, small shrimp and crabs, clams, and some fishes while juvenile consumes copepods, amphipods, mysid shrimp, worms, and detritus. It is preyed upon by striped bass, shark, spotted seatrout and other croakers. It reaches sexual maturity at the age between 1 and 2 years. Spawning occurs over continental shelf during fall and winter with a peak between August and October. Female lays up to 2 million eggs in a spawning season. It grows up to 55 cm in length and 2.6 kg in weight. It can live up to 13 years.


= Excellent   = Good   = Fair


Location Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Delaware
Virginia