Southern kingfish

Menticirrhus americanus

Family Sciaenidae - drums

Distinguishing
Characteristics
Body elongate and moderately compressed; color silvery to gray, sometimes with yellow tinge; darker mottling on sides; pectoral fins dark on posterior margin; 1 barbel on chin; dorsal fin with deep notch; inside of gill plate dusky; scales on chest about the same size as those on sides; mouth subterminal; caudal fin pointed (juveniles) or S-shaped (adults).
Similar Species
Gulf kingfish has no darker markings on side and inside of gill plate is pale; northern kingfish has more distinct diagonal bars and a horizontal stripe on sides, its 2nd dorsal spine is elongate and reaches past the beginning of the soft dorsal rays
Habitat
Bay and shallow Gulf, sandy mud to hard sand bottoms
Maximum Size
50 cm (19 1/2 in), common to 30 cm (12 in)
Fin Element Counts
D. XI,24-25; A. I,7 (explain)
Other Common Names
southern whiting; whiting
Previous Scientific Names
Comments
State size/bag limits