Longfin Croaker

Longfin Croaker, Umbrina dorsalis

The Longfin Croaker, Umbrina dorsalis, whose common Spanish name is berrugata aleta larga, is a species in the Family Sciaenidae, the Croakers, known as berrugatras and corvinas in Mexico. Globally, there are eighteen species in the genus Umbrina, of which seven are found in Mexican waters, one in the Atlantic and six in the Pacific.

The Longfin Croakers have moderately oblong slightly compressed bodies with a horizontal lower body profile. They have a uniform silvery coloration with a series of indistinct oblique lines along the scale rows that become darker as the fish matures. The inside of their gill chamber is very dark and visible through the gill cover. Their fins are generally transparent with black tinges. They have high arched backs. Their head is broad, conical, and low with a very short projecting snout that opens in the front. Their gill covers are finely serrated. Their chin has one short barbel with a pore at its tip and two pairs of pores at its base. Their anal fin has a short base with two spines and seven or eight rays with the second spine being stout and three-fourths the length of the first ray; their caudal fin has a slightly concave margin; their dorsal fin is deeply notched with ten spines followed by another spine and 29 to 33 rays; their second dorsal fin has a very long base (after which it is named); and their pectoral fins are short. They have 18 to 25 gill rakers and are covered with rough scales.

The Longfin Croakers are found demersal over sandy bottoms, in the surf zone, and in inshore bays at depths up to 80 feet. They reach a maximum length of 40 cm (16 inches). They have a limited range being found around the extreme southern portion of Baja and along the coast from Mazatlán to Guatemala. They are a poorly studied species and little is known about their behavioral patterns.

The Longfin Croaker can be confused with several other surf Croakers, however, these Croakers have more pronounced striping, yellow pectoral fins, and longer snouts.

The Longfin Croakers are fairly abundant at certain times of the year in the surf in the greater Los Cabos area but are generally too small in stature and only retained by subsistence fishermen.

Longfin Croaker, Juvenile, Umbrina dorsalis: Fish caught out of the surf at Km 21, Cabo Real, Baja California Sur, July 2008. Length: 8 cm (3.1 inches).
Longfin Croaker, Juvenile, Umbrina dorsalis: Fish caught out of the surf at Km 21, Cabo Real, Baja California Sur, July 2008. Length: 8 cm (3.1 inches).
Longfin Croaker, Umbrina dorsalis: Fish caught out of the surf at Km 21, Cabo Real, Baja California Sur, July 2012. Length: 20 cm (7.9 inches). Fish identification courtesy of Dr. Ross Robertson, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama.
Longfin Croaker, Umbrina dorsalis: Fish caught out of the surf at Km 21, Cabo Real, Baja California Sur, July 2012. Length: 20 cm (7.9 inches). Fish identification courtesy of Dr. Ross Robertson, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama.