Atlantic croaker (Micropogonias undulatus) belongs to the family Sciaenidae and is closely related to black drum (Pogonias cromis), silver perch (Bairdiella chrysoura), spot croaker (Leiostomus xanthurus), red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus), and weakfish (Cynoscion regalis). They are commonly found in sounds and estuaries from Massachusetts to the Gulf of Mexico. The names croaker and drum are descriptive of the noise the fish makes by vibrating strong muscles against its swim bladder, which acts as a resonating chamber, much like a drum. During spawning season (August to December), croakers turn a deep golden color, from this comes the name golden croaker. When full-grown (three to four years), croakers reach between 1-1/2 feet long and 4-5 pounds, but on average are 1/2-2 pounds. They have been used for food by Native Americans, and are found in shell middens. 1
Croaker populations greatly vary year to year, and can be dependent on the conditions of their habitats. Their management is challenging due to the variability year to year.
- Robins, C. Richard, G. Carleton Ray, and John Douglass. A Field Guide to Atlantic Coast Fishes-North America. Houghton Mifflin Company. New York. 1986. 184-188.
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2007). "Micropogonias undulatus" in FishBase. Mar 2007 version.
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