The fish are inconspicuous in appearance. They have a deep body, about the same depth as the caudal appendage, where it narrows sharply. The fins are spiny. The caudal fin is crescent-shaped. The front teeth are incisor-shaped, and the upper jaw has two rows of molars. The roe is dusky.
Found in the western Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia to Florida, rare south of North Carolina, occurring mainly in the Mid-Atlantic Bight from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras. Introduction to Bermuda has not been successful.
A schooling species, common in summer in inland waters from Massachusetts to Virginia. In winter, it is often found in coastal waters between Hudson Canyon and Cape Hatteras in depths from 230 to 590 feet.
The maximum length reaches about 16 inches. The world record among all tackle is held by a fish from Massachusetts weighing 4 pounds 9 ounces. They are up to 20 years old.
Life history and Behavior
Food and feeding habits
Their diet includes crabs, shrimp, worms, sand dollars, snails, and young squid. Occasionally eat small fish, usually prowl and nibbling on hard bottoms.
Sexual maturity occurs by age 3, when the fish reaches 81⁄4 inches in length. Spawning occurs during the summer months.
|Conservation status||Least Concern|
|Life span, years||20|
|Maximum body weight, kg||2.1|
|Maximum length, cm||46|
|Sailing speed, m/s||No information|
|Threat to people||Edible|
|Way of eating||Planktonophage|