Gafftopsail catfish

Bagre marinus

Family Ariidae - catfishes, sea

Distinguishing
Characteristics
Body elongate, the head is flattened dorsoventrally, the body is flattened laterally; body is scaleless; color bluish above, white below; sharp, thick serrated spine in dorsal fin and both pectoral fins; 1st ray of dorsal and pectoral fins elongated; adipose fin present; 2 pair of long flattened barbels on chin and mouth.
Similar Species
The hardhead catfish has 3 pair of round barbels (gafftopsail has 2 pair of flattened barbels), its 1st dorsal and pectoral fin rays are not elongated; the blue catfish, a freshwater catfish that ventures into brackish waters, has 4 pair of barbels.
Habitat
Gulf and bay, common around bridges and piers and over hard substrates
Maximum Size
69 cm (27 in), common to 50 cm (19 1/2 in)
Fin Element Counts
D. I,7; A. 23 (explain)
Other Common Names
Previous Scientific Names
Comments
State size/bag limits
Minimum size is 14 in.; no bag limit; Check for state record.