Description: High arched back; 10 to 14 pairs of chin barbels; gray or black colored body in adults; young have 4 to 6 vertical bars; has cobblestone-like teeth capable of crushing oysters; scales large.
Similar Fish: Red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus; the vertical bars on juvenile black drum are somewhat similar to those on sheepshead, Archosargus probatocephalus; and spadefish, Chaetodipterus faber.
Where Found: Inshore fish common to bays and lagoons; bottom dweller often found around oyster beds; also offshore.
Size: Common to 30 pounds.
Remarks: Black Drum is the largest member of the drum family; spawns nearshore in winter and early spring; feeds on oysters, mussels, crabs, shrimp, and occasionally fish; longevity to 35 or more years.
Illustration: © Diane Rome Peebles