Black drum - Pogonias cromis
Diagnostic characters: A large fish, body oblong and moderately deep and compressed. Mouth inferior, nearly horizontal; maxilla reaching below middle of eye. Teeth villiform, set in bands on jaws; lower pharyngeal teeth fused as a triangular plate with molariform grinding teeth. Chin with 5 pores and 10 to 13 pairs of small barbels along median edges of lower jaws and subopercles, increasing in length posteriorly; snout with 10 pores (5 rostral and 5 marginal). Gill rakers short and stout, 16 to 21. Preopercle margin smooth. Spinous dorsal fin with 10 spines, posterior portion with 1 spine and 19 to 22 soft rays; anal fin with 2 spines and 5 to 7 (usually 6) soft rays, second spine long and stout; caudal fin truncate to slightly emarginate. Gas bladder with numerous lateral appendages interconnected in a complicated pattern in adult. Sagitta semicircular and moderately thin, lapillus rudimentary. Scales all ctenoid much reduced in size on breast; few cycloid scales below eyes; soft dorsal fin naked except 2 or 3 rows of small cyclod, scales along its base.
Colour: silvery grey to very dark, young with 4 or 5 black vertical bars on sides, disappearing with growth; pelvic and anal fins usually dark.
Size: Maximum 150 cm; common to 60 cm.
Habitat, biology, and fisheries: Found over sand and sandy mud bottoms in coastal waters and surf zones; often form large aggregations close to surf zone; juveniles enter estuaries. Feeds on bottom-dwelling organisms, mainly benthicworms, crustaceans, and molluscs.Caught mainly with bottom trawls, beach haul seines, and pond nets; also by anglers.During spawning migrations, it is very vulnerable to large beach haul seines.
Distribution: Atlantic coast from Gulf of Maine to Florida, northern and western coast of Gulf of Mexico, uncommon in Antilles and south Caribbean coast, along Atlantic coast of South America from Orinoco delta to Argentina, but no record from northeast Brazil. Outside the area, the southern Brazil and Argentina population is much larger in average size.