Longfin Croaker

Longfin Croaker, Umbrina dorsalis

The Longfin Croaker, Umbrina dorsalis, whose common Spanish name is Burrugato Aleta Larga, is a member of the Croaker or Sciaenidae Family, known collectively as “Berrugatas and Corvinas” in Mexico.

The Longfin Croaker has a moderately oblong slightly compressed body with a horizontal lower body profile. They are a uniform silvery color with a series of indistinct oblique lines along the scale rows that become darker as the fish matures. The inside of the gill chamber is very dark and visible through the gill cover. The fins are generally transparent with black tinges. They have high arched backs, the head is broad, conical and low with a very short projecting snout that opens in the front. The gill covers are finely serrated. The chin has one short barbell with a pore at its tip and two pairs of pores at its base. The anal fin has a short base with two spines and 7 or 8 rays with the second spine being stout and three-fourths the length to the first ray; the caudal fin has a slightly concave margin; the dorsal fin is deeply notched with 10 spines and 1 spine and 29 to 33 rays; the second dorsal has a very long base (for which it is named); and, the pectoral fins are short. They have 18 – 25 gill rakers and are covered with rough scales.

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

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

The Longfin Croaker is fairly abundant at certain times of the year in the surf in the greater Los Cabos area but generally too small in stature and retained only 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.