Drum, sea drum, common drum, banded drum, butterfly drum, gray drum, striped drum, oyster drum, oyster cracker; French: grand tambour; Japanese: guchi, ishimochi, nibe; Portuguese: corvina; Spanish: corvinón negro, corbina, corvina negro, corvina, roncador.
The black drum has a short, deep, and stocky body, with a high, arched back and a slightly concave tail. The lower jaw sports numerous barbels, or short whiskers. There are large pavementlike teeth in the throat, and the mouth is low. The dorsal fins have 11 spines, 20 to 22 dorsal rays, and 41 to 45 scales along the lateral line, which runs all the way to the end of the tail. Coloring is silvery with a brassy sheen and blackish fins, turning to dark gray after death.
Black drum are found in the western Atlantic Ocean, from Massachusetts to southern Florida and across the Gulf of Mexico to northern Mexico. They rarely occur north of New Jersey.
Sea-bottom shelf fish, enters brackish and fresh waters. In the sea, it lives at depths of up to 90 m mainly over sandy and silty substrates. Prefers places near piers, breakwaters, piles of bridges and piers, channels, estuaries, bays, high marshes, and shorelines. Larger fish often choose shoals and channels. Black drum can survive in a wide range of salinity and temperature. Smaller fish live in brackish and freshwater areas, with adults usually preferring estuaries, where salinity ranges from 9 to 26 parts per thousand and temperature ranges from 53° to 91 °F.
It has a strong growth rate. The average weight of small mullets is 5 to 10 pounds. Larger specimens usually weigh between 20 and 40 pounds. In Delaware Bay in the spring, it is quite common to see fish weighing 40 to 70 pounds. The record weight of all specimens is 113 pounds. Black drummers live up to 35 years.
Life history and Behavior
Black drum adults form shoals and migrate to the mouths of bays and rivers in spring for the spawning period. In the Gulf of Mexico, this period lasts from February to May. The egg diameter is 0.81-1.02 mm. Caviar development lasts less than a day at a water temperature of 20 °C. The hatched larvae are 1.9-2.4 mm long. The yolk sac disappears 4 days after hatching, and the larvae begin to feed actively. Black mullet larvae remain in shallow muddy waters until they reach 4-5 inches in length, then they move to shore.
Food and feeding habits
Adult black drum feed on crustaceans and mollusks, with a preference for blue crabs, shedder crabs, shrimp, oysters, and squid. They locate food with their chin barbels and crush and grind shells with their pharyngeal teeth.
It becomes sexually mature at 35-36 cm in the second year of life. The spawning period in the Chesapeake Bay lasts from March to May. In the northern Gulf of Mexico, spawning takes place in December-May; fish come out of the coastal bays and spawn near the passages into these bays. The fecundity is 6 million eggs. The diameter of the eggs is 0.81-1.02 mm. Caviar development lasts less than a day at a water temperature of 20°С. The hatched larvae are 1.9-2.4 mm long. The yolk sac disappears 4 days after hatching, and the larvae begin to feed actively.
|Conservation status||Least Concern|
|Life span, years||40|
|Maximum body weight, kg||50|
|Maximum length, cm||170|
|Sailing speed, m/s||No information|
|Threat to people||Edible|
|Way of eating||predator|