Spot - Leiostomus xanthurus
Diagnostic characters: A medium-sized to small fish, body short, back strongly arched and deep. Head low, mouth small, inferior, nearly horizontal; maxilla reaching below middle of eye. Teeth villiform, set in bands on jaws. Chin without barbel but with 5 mental pores; snout with 10 pores (5 rostral and 5 marginal). Gill rakers 30 to 36, short and slender. Preopercle margin soft, nearly smooth. Spinous dorsal fin with 10 spines, posterior portion with 1 spine and 29 to 35 soft rays; anal fin with 2 spines and 12 or 13 soft rays; caudal fin truncate to emarginated. Gas bladder simple, carrot-shaped without appendages. Sagitta (large earstone) oval and thin, lapillus (small earstone) rudimentary. Scales ctenoid (comb-like), cycloid (smooth) below eye and underside of head. Soft dorsal fin naked, except 1 or 2 rows of scales along its base. Colour: silvery grey, darker above; back with 11 to 15 oblique dark streaks extending to below lateral line; a prominent humeral spot, the size of iris, behind upper end of gill slit; dorsal and caudal fins dusky, other fins pale to yellowish.
Size: Maximum 36 cm; common to 25 cm.
Habitat, biology,and fisheries: Found over sandy ormuddy bottoms in coastalwaters to about 60 m. The fish spend the summer and autumn in their nursing and feeding grounds in estuaries, the young-of-the year often remaining in the estuarine waters. Feed mainly
on bottom-dwelling worms, small crustaceans, and organic detritus. Caught with bottom trawls, seines, gill nets, and pound nets; also on hook-and-line by anglers. Seasonal fisheries in river estuaries, and along beaches throughout its range, except off the southern tip of Florida. Larger fish marketed fresh and becoming quite popular in recent years; smaller fish are mainly used for manufacture of pet food and for bait.
Distribution: Atlantic coast, Cape Cod to Florida and Gulf of Mexico, from Florida to Rio Grande.
NEAMAP Spot Catch By Year Maps: