Adults have pinkish to coppery backs that fade to silver/white sides. Juveniles can appear iridescent. Dark vertical bars run along their upper sides. Have a downturned mouth and prominent lateral line that runs to the tip of the tail. Have three to five barbels, or whiskers, on their chin and sharp, serrated gill plates. Can grow up to about 8 pounds, but 1 to 2 pounds is much more common.
Range and Habitat
Found from Massachusetts south throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Live offshore during the winter and move into bays and estuaries the rest of the year. Live on the water bottom and prefer soft sandy or muddy bottoms. Commonly found in Louisiana inshore waters.
Found in large schools. Bottomfeeders, eating shrimp, crabs, and detritus (dead and decaying plant and animal matter). Make a drumming or croaking sound. Spawn offshore in large groups during the fall.