Information from FAO Species Identification Guide Western Central Atlantic
Scientific Name: Morone saxatilis
Diagnostic characters: Large fishes, attaining 180 cm, 57 kg. Body oblong, slightly compressed. Head mostly covered with small scales; mouth large, the maxilla widely expanded posteriorly and mostly exposed when mouth is closed; no supramaxilla; jaws with bands of small conical teeth, no canines; bands of villiform teeth also present on vomer, palatines, and in 2 parallel rows on base of tongue. Branchiostegal membranes separate, joined to isthmus far forward, with 7 rays. Gill rakers 6 to 12 on upper limb, 12 to 15 on lower limb, total 19 to 29. Rear edge of opercle with 2 flat points; preopercle broadly rounded, weakly serrate. Dorsal fin notched to the base in front of soft-rayed portion, with 8 or 9 spines in first part and 1 spine and 10 to 13 rays in second part. Caudal fin forked, heavily scaled at the base; principal caudal rays 9+8, branched rays 8+7. Anal fin with 3 distinct spines and 9 to 12 soft rays, fin origin well behind vertical at soft dorsal-fin origin. Pectoral fin small, unsymmetrical, the upper rays longest, length about half head length; pectoral-fin soft rays 15 to 18.Pelvic fins with 1 spine and 5 soft rays.Head and body covered with moderate, finely ctenoid scales; lateral line continuous, with 50 to 72 tubed scales, not extending onto caudal fin. Swimbladder extends into hollow of first anal-fin pterygiophore. Vertebrae: 12 abdominal plus 13 caudal. Colour: silvery, with 7 or 8 longitudinal black stripes on body.
Size: Maximum 1.8 m, 57 kg.
Habitat, biology, and fisheries: The anadromous striped bass occurs in rivers, estuaries, and near-shore waters; it is tolerant of turbid water and found in a variety of habitats: shallow bays, along sandy beaches, and also in rocky areas. Normally gonochoristic, with a rare incidence of hermaphroditic individuals. Males are mature at about 17 cm total length (2 years) and females at 45 to 55 cm total length (4 to 6 years); maximum age has been estimated at about 30 years. Spawning occurs in rivers and at the heads of estuaries from mid-February to July; with discrete populations occurring in the major rivers from the Gulf of Mexico to Nova Scotia; some inland populations live permanently in fresh water. Fecundity estimates range from 15 000 for a 46 cm fish to 4 million for a 13 year-old, 14.5 kg fish. Along the east coast of the USA, some populations undertake seasonal migrations, moving north in late winter or early spring, and back southwards in autumn. Striped bass feed mainly on fishes and crustaceans, with small juveniles taking mainly crustaceans and adults eating mostly fishes. Extremely important as a game and foodfish; caught by anglers and also with beach seines, fyke nets, gill nets, pound nets, fish traps, and otter trawl. Marketed fresh, or filleted and frozen.
Distribution: Inshore waters of the USA from Canada to the St Johns River in northern Florida, and northern Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Louisiana.