Sciaenidae - drums

Drums are elongate, moderately compressed fishes (more laterally compressed in younger fishes). Their dorsal fin has a deep notch between the anterior and posterior portions. Their gill plates have two bony projections pointing posteriorly on the upper portion and one bony projection pointing anteriorly at the upper end. Most fishes primarily reside in the nearshore Gulf. They use the bays seasonally as nursery grounds for smaller fishes and as feeding grounds for larger fishes. They are demersal (bottom dwellers), living on mud or sandy bottoms. Some larger fishes prefer harder structures. Many attain large sizes and are important recreational sport fishes. A few have some commercial value.