Menticirrhus americanus

Super Group: 
Linnaeus 1758
Cyprinus americanus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Menticirrhus martinicensis (Cuvier, 1830)


Diagnosis_Genus: Menticirrhus Gill. Body elongated, with the dorsal outline arched, very gradually descending from the dorsal to the snout, and slowly descending to the end of the second fin. Abdominal outline nearly straight. Head rather elongated, with the profile oblique, and before the eyes slightly arched. Snout convex and considerably protuberant. Eyes of moderate size, situated entirely in the anterior half of the head. Mouth horizontal and inferior. Supramaxillary bone ending nearly under the posterior border of the eye's pupil, chiefly concealed under the suborbitals. Preopercular margin finely denticulated. Lower jaw with a single barbel, with a pore in front, and with two lateral pores on each side. Teeth in both jaws villiform; in the upper one, the band of villiform ones is surrounded by a row of larger curved ones. Anterior dorsal fin sustained by ten or twelve spines, the third of which is frequently more or less prolonged. Anal fin generally with only one very slender spine. Caudal unequally lobed, with the inferior lobe convex and largest. Pectoral fins pointed and scaly at their bases. Ventral shorter and inserted much behind the pectoral. The teeth of the pharyngeal bones are elongated and conical. The setae of the first pair of ceratohyals are generally obliquely compressed and short. The dentiferous plates of the branchial arches are thick and ridge-like. The American Umbrinae form a very natural group, distinguished from the typical species by their elongated and very gradually tapering head, the more slender body, the more unequally emerginated caudal, the inferior insertion of the pectorals and their scaly bases, and the posterior origin of the ventrals, as well as the presence of only one very slender anal spine.

Diagnosis_Species: Cyprinus americanus Linnaeus. C. pinna ani radiis .., cirris plurimis. Catesb. car. 2. p. I2. t. I2. Alburnus americanus. Habitat in America. Pinna caudae indicisa.

Body_adults_common: 30 cm
Body_adults_max: 392-455 mm length: 192 mm (Harding & Chittenden, 1987)
Body_larvae_preflexion_length: 2.09-3.72 mm (Ditty, 1989)
Body_larvae_flexion_length: 3.72-4.56 mm (Ditty, 1989)
Body_egg_length: 0.76-0.92 mm (Hildebrand & Cable, 1934)
Body_juvenile_length: 150-220 mm (Gulf of Mexico) (Harding & Chittenden, 1987)
Body_6 months old_length: 138 mm (Harding & Chittenden, 1987)
Body_1_year_old_length: 192 mm (Harding & Chittenden, 1987)
Body_2_years_old_length: 272 mm (Harding & Chittenden, 1987)

Weight_max: 2.13 kg (Hildebrand & Cable, 1934)
Weight: 230 g (Hildebrand & Cable, 1934)
Sequence_16S rRNA: JX903977 (Santos et al. 2013)
Sequence_COI: JX904010 (Santos et al. 2013)
Sequence_TMO-4C4: JX904043 (Santos et al. 2013)


Menticirrhus: Latin, mentum = beard, chin + Latin, cirrus = curly (Fishbase).

Type species

The type species of the genus Menticirrhus is Perca alburnus (Linnaeus, 1766).



Menticirrhus americanus lives in Western Atlantic: New York to Texas, USA and Bay of Campeche to Buenos Aires, Argentina; absent in southern Florida and the Antilles (Fishbase).
The juveniles can tolerate low salinity levels and are often found in estuaries (Marine Ecology).
Menticirrhus amaricanus is a non migratory species.
Salinity: marine
Salinity: brackish
Temperature: 13-24°C
Oxygen_level: oxic
Depth: demersal
Depth: 5-27 m (Gulf off Freeport) (Harding & Chittenden, 1987)
Depth_young-of-the-year: 5-9 m (Harding & Chittenden, 1987)
Depth_egg: pelagic (Harding & Chittenden, 1987)
Depth_larvae: pelagic (Harding & Chittenden, 1987)
Habitat: coastal
Habitat: estuarine


Life cycle

Menticirrhus americanus in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico mature at 150-220 mm TL and 12-14 months of age, with males maturing when 10-40 mm smaller than females. Spawning occurs within a broad period from February through November with two discrete peaks which coincide with the periodicity of downcoast alongshore currents (towards Mexico) in spring and fall (Harding & Chittenden, 1987).

Reproduction_mode: sexual
Longevity: 1 to 3 years (Harding & Chittenden, 1987)
Generation_time: 1 to 3 years (Harding & Chittenden, 1987)
Spawning_method: external fertilization in the water column
Fertility_period: seasonal (late fall or early winter, in Gulf of Mexico) (Welsh & Breder, 1924)
Fertility_period: seasonal (April to August, in Beaufort) (Hildebrand & Cable, 1934)
Fertility_period: seasonal (February through November) (Harding & Chittenden, 1987)


Feeding behaviour


Mode of locomotion

Motility: motile_swimming


Observation site(s)


Displaying 1 - 2 of 2
Association with... Region origin Name of site In reference...
Amyloodinium ocellatum Gulf Coast Research Laboratory
Amyloodinium ocellatum Mississippi Sound