About This Fish


The kingfish (Menticirrhus saxatili) is also known as the northern kingfish, king whiting, sea mullet, northern whiting, roundhead, sea mink, minkfish, northern kingcroaker, whiting and barb. It is a marine ray finned fish which belongs to the Family Sciaenidae under Order Perciformes of Class Actinopterygii. It is distributed in the shallow coastal waters of the western Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. It occurs usually over sand to sandy mud bottoms. Juvenile enters tidal rivers and creeks of low salinity. Body is elongated with inferior mouth.

The kingfish's body is leaden or dusky gray above with silvery and metallic reflections, milky or yellowish-white below. The side is cross marked irregularly with dark bars which run obliquely forward and downward behind the spiny dorsal fin. The pale belly is bounded above by a dark longitudinal streak on either side. The fins are dusky or blackish while the tip of the first dorsal fin, anal fin, pectoral fin and pelvic fin are dirty white. Its lip is fleshy and chin contains a barbell. Dorsal fin has two parts; the first part is triangular in shape with 10 spines, of which, the third spine is the longest and is extended into a short filament. The second dorsal fin is long and slightly tapered with one spine and 24-27 soft rays. The pectoral fin is pointed and quite large while the anal fin has 1 spine and 8 soft rays. The caudal fin has a slightly concave upper lobe and a rounded lower lobe. Its diet consists mainly of small crustaceans such as shrimps, crabs, amphipods, polychaete worms, molluscs, small fish and mysids. Male attains sexual maturity at the age of 2 years while female at 3 years. It spawns during the period between April and August.

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