Cynoscion nebulosus, the spotted seatrout is an elongate, fusiform member of the drum family that reaches a maximum length of 100 cm (3.3 feet). Body color is silvery, with the dorsal surface a darker gray tinged with blue. Many small black spots are scattered over the dorsal surface of the body above the lateral line and extend onto the dorsal and caudal fins. The spinous dorsal fin is dusky in color, while all other fins are pale to yellowish in color. The dorsal fin has 12 spines and 25-28 soft rays, with the spinous portion of the fin separated from the soft dorsal fin by a deep notch. The anal fin has 2 spines and 10-11 rays. The caudal fin is truncate or emarginate. The head is slightly concave in profile, with the large mouth set obliquely and the lower jaw projecting beyond the upper. The inside of the mouth is orange. The upper jaw has a large pair of canine teeth at set at the front, while the lower jaw has an enlarged inner row of close-set teeth. The snout has 2 marginal pores. There are no chin barbells. Scales large and ctenoid, covering most of the body surface except the soft dorsal and anal fins, which lack scales. The lateral line extends into the caudal fin and has 66 or more lateral line scales. There are 7-9 gill rakers on lower limb of the gill arch, with rakers relatively short and thick in comparison with other Cynoscion species (Hoese and Moore 1977; Johnson and Seaman 1986).
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