Micropogonias undulatus
(Linnaeus 1766)
Family Sciaenidae

Lateral view of an Atlantic croaker
This Atlantic croaker was collected in Volusia County, Florida in 2015. It is now part of the Florida Museum ichthyology collection, UF 237915. Florida Museum photo by Zachary Randall

The Atlantic croaker is a member of the drum and croaker family. It has a slightly elongated, fusiform body with a rounded dorsal profile and nearly straight ventral profile. It has a moderately large and subterminal mouth, and there are between six and ten tiny chin barbels. The preopercle is serrate along the edge of its upper arm to the ventral angle where there are between three and four large, strong spines. This species has a silvery body with a pink to bronze-ish hue with many slightly oblique rows of spots along the side. Breeding individuals take on a golden hue, and the caudal fin in adults is lanceolate. The Atlantic croaker is a marine species that enters nearshore water bodies including rivers, creeks, canals and ditches. This species is only found over sandy or muddy substrate.

Status & distribution

  • Status — Marine invader
  • Florida Distribution — Western and North Central; South Florida; Atlantic Coast
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