Comprehensive Description

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Pogonias cromis, the black drum, is oblong and moderately compressed with an elevated back and nearly straight ventral profile. The head is short with a blunt snout and inferior, horizontal mouth. The chin has 5 pores and 12-13 short barbels set close to the inner edges of the lower jaw. A deep notch separates the spinous dorsal fin with its 11 spines from the soft dorsal fin, which has 19 - 23 rays. The third dorsal spine is the longest. The anal fin has 2 spines and 5-7 rays. The caudal fin is truncate to emarginate. Pectoral fins are approximately the same length as the head. Scales are large and ctenoid. There are 41-45 lateral line scales. The pharyngeal teeth are small and set in broad bands for effective grinding of mollusk and arthropod shells. The vomer, palatines and tongue lack teeth (Johnson 1978). Body color in adults is a silver to black base color, highlighted with a with a coppery or brassy sheen. Fins are dusky to black in color. Young typically have 4-6 vertical black bars along their sides. Coloration may change depending on habitat or age of the fish (Simmons and Breuer 1962). In the Gulf of Mexico, black drum are nearly uniformly silver in color, their vertical crossbars disappearing very early in life. Fishes inhabiting bays and lagoons tend to be darker in color, typically with a bronze dorsal surface and gray-white sides (Simmons and Breuer 1962; Johnson 1978).


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© Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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