Cynoscion arenarius

Super Group: 
Ginsburg 1930


Diagnosis_Genus: Cynoscion Gill. Body elongated and nearly fusiform. Caudal peduncle of moderate size. Head oblong-conical, with a scarcely convex snout. Eyes wholly in the anterior half of the head. Mouth oblique; the supramaxillars cease nearly under or little before the posterior borders of the orbits. Lower jaw protuberant. Preoperculum with its margin membranous and crenulated. Teeth distant and recurved, nearly uniserial in the lower jaw, in front preceded by an additional row ; nearly biserial in the upper jaw, and normally with a canine tooth on each side of the symphysis; one is generally deciduous. Anterior dorsal fin with generally nine or ten spines; posterior of normal size. Anal fin trapezoidal, with only one very slender spine apparent externally. Caudal fin subtruncated. Ventrals in the same relative position as those of Sciaena. Lateral line with a sigmoid flexure, tubular, in scales formed like those of the rest of the body. The pharyngeal bones are armed with acute teeth; those of the upper are considerably curved. The setae of the first ceratobranchials are slender; their teeth are rarely in more than one or two irregular rows, and are but slightly curved. The internal sides of the first and both sides of the remaining branchial arches have a row of appressed semioval plates, armed with curved teeth, increasing in size towards the margin; besides the row of marginal plates, the sides have also many smaller ones. This genus is somewhat allied to Sciaena, but differs especially in the protrusion of the lower jaw, the presence of symphyseal canine teeth in the upper, the character of the preoperculum, and the single slender spine of the anal fin. It is also nearly allied to the typical Otolithi, differing from them by the absence of canine teeth on the lower jaw, the condition of the margin of the preoperculum, the presence of only one anal spine, the character of the lateral line, and especially in the position of the ventral fins. Type. Cynoscion regalis Gill. Syn. Otolithus regalis Cuv. et Val.
Diagnosis_Species: Cynoscion arenarius Ginsburg. Vertebrae 25 (47). Soft anal rays with the modal number very decisively at 11 (92), sometimes 10 (12) or 12' (15). Total number of gill rakers in specimens of 71 to 266 millimeters, standard length, usually 14 (20) or 13 (19), frequently 15 (13), infrequently 12 (2). Enumerating separately the gill rakers on the two limbs of the first arch the most usual numbers are 4+10 or 3+10. The tendency to a decrease in the number of gill rakers with an increase in the size of the fish is quite marked; in specimens of 31 to 70 millimeters standard length the frequency distribution is as follows: 14 (6),15 (31),16 (24),17 (7), 18 (1). Caudal not emarginate in individuals over 300 millimeters, the middle rays being somewhat longer (specimens up to 315 millimeters total length examined). Least depth of caudal peduncle usually shorter than snout; 1.57 to 1.82 in maxillary. Dorsal soft rays have a modal number of 26 (59), quite commonly 25 (35) or 27 (22), rarely 24 (2) or 28 (1). Color pale, without well defined spots, yellowish above, silvery below, the centers of the scales above level of gill opening sometimes forming faint oblique rows of cloudy areas. The back in young cloudy, the cloudy areas tending to form indefinite broad cross bands.

Body_adults_length: 35-65 cm
Body_juveniles_length: < 14-18 cm ( (IUCN)
Body_female_mature_length: 152-170 mm (Garcia et al., 1988)
Body_male_mature_length: 129 mm (Sutter & McIlwain, 1987)
Body_larvae_preflexion_length: 2.20-4.30 mm (Ditty, 1989)
Body_larvae_flexion_length: 4.25-5.05 mm (Ditty, 1989)
Weight_adult: 2.8 kg (Fishbase)
Body_larvae_length: 1.51-8.82 mm (Flores-Coto et al., 1998)
Body_larvae_newly_hatched: 0.81 mm (Flores-Coto et al., 1998)
Sequence_MtDNA: DQ179650, DQ179651 (Tringali et al., 2011)
Sequence_LdhA: AY057092, AY057091 (Tringali et al., 2011)
Sequence_GrRH3-2: DQ179646, DQ179647 (Tringali et al., 2011)
Sequence_AldoB4: DQ179648, DQ179649 (Tringali et al., 2011)


Cynoscion: Greek, kyon = dog + Greek, odous = teeth + Greek, skion, skiaina = barbel, red mullet (fishbase).

Type species

The type species of the genus Cynoscion is Johnius regalis (Bloch and Schneider 1801).


Cynoscion arenarius lives in Western Atlantic: Florida, USA and Gulf of Mexico to Bay of Campeche, Mexico.

Substrate: water
Salinity: marine
Salinity: brackish
Oxygen_level: oxic
Habitat: coastal
Habitat: estuarine (Garcia et al., 1988)
Habitat: demersal
Depth: 0-182 m (IUCN)
Depth_reproduction: < 15 m (Garcia et al., 1988)
Temperature: 5-35°C


Life cycle

The maximum life span listed is 5 years (fishbase). There is no sexual dimorphism (Fishbase).
This species inhabits inshore waters extensively, but migrates to offshore waters to spawn and escape the harsh temperature extremes of the inshore bays (IUCN).
Sand Seatrout display two distinct spawning peaks during a seven month reproductive period, a spring (March – May) peak and a late summer peak (August – September) (IUCN).
Cynoscion arenarius is a migratory species (IUCN)
Causality_of_migration: sexual_reproduction (spawning, IUCN)
Longevity: more than 3 years
Reproduction_mode: sexual
Fertility_period: seasonal (spring to summer) (March to September, IUCN)

Feeding behaviour


Mode of locomotion

Motility: motile_swimming


Observation site(s)


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Association with... Region origin Name of site In reference...
Amyloodinium ocellatum Gulf Coast Research Laboratory

ASQME static network (beta)

ASQME dynamic network (beta)

ASQME map (beta)