Size3 feet (91cm) and 21 lbs. (9.6 kg)
DietInvertebrates, small vertebrates and occasionally plant material
RangeCoastal waters of the Western Atlantic Ocean
HabitatBays and estuaries around rock pilings, jetties, mangrove roots and piers, as well as in tidal creeks
- This species grows to about 3 feet (91cm) and 21 lbs. (9.6 kg).
- Sheepshead seabream has an oval-shaped, deep body and a blunt snout.
- It has a broad black bar across the forehead and 5 to 6 dark bands vertically across its body.
- Its sides are silvery to yellowish with a darker olive-brown color dorsally.
Adult seabream have impressive teeth and will use them to crush heavily armored and shelled prey and to scrape barnacles from rocks and pilings.
- This fish is omnivorous, feeding on invertebrates, small vertebrates and occasionally plant material.
- The diet of the juvenile includes zooplankton, polychaete worms and midge larvae.
- Adults use their impressive dentition to crush heavily armored and shelled prey and to scrape barnacles from rocks and pilings.
- Sheepshead seabream occurs in coastal waters of the Western Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia through the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean coasts of Central and South America, south to Brazil. It is absent from Bermuda, the Bahamas and the West Indies. The densest populations are encountered off southwest Florida.
- This species primarily is found in bays and estuaries around rock pilings, jetties, mangrove roots and piers, as well as in tidal creeks.
- It freely enters brackish water and, sometimes, fresh water.
- Juveniles live in seagrass flats and over mud bottoms.
- Sheepshead seabream moves to offshore areas in late winter and early spring for spawning, which sometimes occurs over artificial reefs and near navigation markers.
- This species is fished commercially and is considered an excellent food fish.
- It is commonly caught by anglers from rocks and jetties.
- Sharks and other large carnivorous fishes prey on the sheepshead.