The Mojarra Family
The fish of the Mojarra or Gerreidae Family are known in Mexico’s fishing areas as mojarras. They are small to medium-sized fish that reach a maximum length of 50 cm (20 inches). The bodies vary in width from narrow to moderately deep and are compressed. They are covered with prominent silvery scales. Most Mojarra are silvery in color with diagnostic pigmented patterns, dark spots, stripes and/or bars. They have a head with a pointed snout that has a concave anterior lower profile, a strongly protrusible mouth that points downward when protracted, and jaws with very small villiform teeth that are absent from the roof of the mouth. The anal and dorsal fin bases have a high scaly sheath into which the fins can fold. The caudal fin is deeply forked; the single dorsal fin is elevated at the front, the pectoral fins are normally long and pointed; and the pelvic fin origin is below and somewhat behind the pectoral fin base.
The Mojarra occur in large schools over sand or mud bottoms and are found in shallow coastal waters adjacent to reefs that they use for shelter to avoid be targeted by large predators. They are also frequently found in brackish and fresh water environments. They feed on buried organisms including polychaete worms and small organisms which are captured by plunging their protrusible mouth into the sediment, afterwards ejecting the sand through the gill openings. Mojarra are a favorite target of large game fish including sharks and they are used extensively as a live bait throughout Mexico. In many countries,
including Mexico, you will find a strange assortment of fish being sold in fish markets as Mojarra, although somewhat small, they are considered to be an excellent food fish with the larger species being sold extensively by the larger markets throughout Mexico. The classic example in Mexico is the very common top eating fish, THE Mojarra (the Pacific Porgy, Calamus brachysomus), which is actually from the Sparidae or Porgy Family, but lacks the protrusible mouth. Mojarra date to the Eocene Period 55 million years ago.
Due to the strongly protrusible mouth; minute teeth and the anal and dorsal fin bases scaly sheath and the silvery color the Mojarra cannot be confused with any other species.
Ten Mojarra reside in Mexican waters of the Pacific and seven are included in this website.
Black Axillary Mojarra, Eugerres axillaris
Graceful Mojarra, Eucinostomus gracilis
Pacific Flagfin Mojarra, Eucinostomus currani
Pacific Spotfin Mojarra, Eucinostomus dowii
Shortnose Mojarra, Diapterus brevirostris
Slender Mojarra, Eucinostomus jonesii
Streaked Mojarra, Eugerres lineatus
Yellowfin Mojara, Gerres cinereus