Longfin Croaker, Longfin Drum
Polla Aleta Larga, Verrugato Aleta Larga
(Umbrina dorsalis)

Longfin Croaker, Umbrina dorsalis: The Longfin Croaker is characterized by its silver overall appearance and drum or croaker-like appearance. The Longfin Croaker has an oblong body with a slanting forehead and a very characteristic and distinguishing short projecting snout. It has one thick barbel on the end of its chin, short pectoral fins and a slightly concave caudal fin.

A key to identification of the Longfin Croaker is the anal fin which has a second spine that is thick and three-fourths the length of the first anal ray, and there are seven soft rays. The Longfin Croaker has a series of subtle indistinct lines along its scale rows that are virtually invisible in juvenile fish. Adult Longfin Croaker are reported to have dark anal, dorsal and pelvic fins, yellow-brown pelvic fins and the inside the gill covers is dark.

Distribution in Mexico fishing areas

In Mexican fishing waters , the Longfin Croaker is found around the tip of the Baja California peninsula from Magdalena Bay to Loreto, along the coast of the mainland south of Mazatlan. It appears to be absent from the oceanic islands. It is found in the first 50 feet of the water column along sandy beaches. The Longfin Croaker is reported to reach 14 inches in length. This species is quite rare and therefore of limited interest to most individuals.

The Longfin Croaker is a very difficult species to identify and easily confused with a series of other croakers including the Longspine Croaker, Umbrina analis (second anal spine slender, prominent oblique lines along the scale rows); the Polla Drum or Polla Croaker, Umbrina xantis (second anal spine slender, prominent oblique lines along the scale rows); the Spotfin Croaker, Roncodor stearnsi (second anal spine is slender, no barbell); Wintersteen’s Croaker, Umbrina wintersteeni (second anal spine is one-half the length of the first anal ray, rounded caudal fin, and dark fins); and the Yellowfin Croaker, Umbrina roncacor (prominent oblique lines above and below the lateral line and all fins are yellow).

The Longfin Croaker is one of the rarer, seldom seen members of the Sciaenidae or Croaker or Drum Family, a series of fish caught out of the surf.

Longfin Croaker fish picture 1

Longfin Croaker, Umbrina dorsalis: Photo Courtesy of John Snow.

Longfin Croaker fish picture 2

Longfin Croaker, Umbrina dorsalis: Four-inch juvenile. Photo Courtesy of John Snow.

Longfin Croaker fish picture 4

Longfin Croaker, Umbrina dorsalis: Caught during fishing from shore in October 2004, virtually “on the beach,” utilizing 15-pound test line with a fish finder rig, 0.5-ounce barrel sinker, swivel, and Mustad 92553 hooks, size #4, on cut squid, at Km. 20 (Cabo Real) between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur., Mexico. Length approximately 8 inches. Description and photos courtesy John Snow. Fish identification courtesy of Dr. Ross Robertson, Smithsonian Institute, Panama.

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