Body color is basically silver, with either a pinkish or golden
hue. The upper body is heavily marked with small flecks arranged
in wavy vertical lines. The mouth is somewhat underslung.
The Atlantic croaker can be separated from the spot by its
lack of a spot behind the head and its convex tail edge, in
which the longest rays are in the center, compared to the
concave, almost forked tail of the spot.
The Atlantic croaker gets its name from the croaking sounds
that males can make by vibrating their air bladders. Males
use the sound to attract females during spawning season. This
is a characteristic of members of the drum family. The Atlantic
croaker's abundance is due to a high tolerance for a wide
range of conditions, including low salinities, and a wide
range of temperatures. They spawn offshore in the winter.
The free-floating eggs and larvae are at the mercy of tides
and currents to carry them inshore to the estuarine nursery
grounds that are so important to their survival and growth, They are
bottom-feeding fishes, eating worms, crustaceans, mollusks,
small fish, and detritus.