Micropogonias undulatus

Super Group: 
Linnaeus 1766
Perca undulata (Linnaeus, 1766)
Bodianus costatus (Mitchill, 1815)
Micropogon lineatus (Cuvier, 1830)


Diagnosis_Genus: Micropogonias Chao. Body elongate, dorsal profile elevated, ventral profile nearly straight. Head conical, preopercular margin with 10 to 14 spines, 2 to 5 strong spines at the angle. Mouth inferior, teeth in villiform bands, outer row teeth in upper jaw slightly enlarged. Gill rakers short. Vertebrate 10 +15 = 25. Other diagnostic characters as listed for the group. Tropical eastern Pacific and western Atlantic, about five species. Two species in the western Atlantic: M. furnieri and M. undulatus. Inhabits estuarine rivers and coastal waters with sandy to muddy bottom.

Diagnosis_Species: Perca undulata Linnaeus. P. pinnis dorsalibus subunitis, corpore susco-undulato, macula susca ad pinnas pectorales. B. 6. D. 10-1/29. P. 18. V. 1/6. A. 2/10. C. 19. Catesb. car. 2. p. 3. t. f. Perca marina pinna dorsi divisa. Habitat in Carolina. D. Garden. Croker. Opercula anteriora Dentibus 5 brevibus. Cauda integra.

Other description (Texas.gov): Micropogonias undulatus also called Atlantic croaker, are about 12 inches (30 cm) long and weigh 226 g to 0.9 kg on average. Its distinguishing characteristics include three to five pairs of small barbels or "whiskers" on their chins to help them feel for food on the sea floor; a lateral line that extends to the tip of its caudal (tail) fin; inferior mouth (located to the bottom of the head facing the ground), and brown vertical stripes on its sides. Adults are silver with a pinkish cast, while young are silvery and iridescent. Older fish are brassy in color with vertical brown streaks formed by spots that are on their scales.

Body_adults_common_length: 30 cm
Body_adults_max_length: 55 cm
Body_adult_sexual_maturity_male_length: 182 mm (Barbieri et al., 1994)
Body_adult_sexual_maturity_female_length: 173 mm (Barbieri et al., 1994)
Body_egg_length: 0.35 mm (Texas.gov)
Weight_max: 2.6 kg (Fishbase)
Weight: 0.226-0.900 kg (Texas.gov)
Sequence_Cox-2: AB293257.1 (Wang et al., 2016)
Sequence_CYP19A1: DQ184486 (Nunez & Applebaum, 2006)


Micropogonias: Greek, mikros = small + greek, pogon = beard

Type species

The type species of the genus Micropogonias is Micropogon lineatus (Cuvier, 1830).



Micropogonias undulatus lives in Western Atlantic: Massachusetts, USA (excluding Florida) and northern Gulf of Mexico to northern Mexico. Possibly from southern Brazil to Argentina. Uncertain in southern Gulf of Mexico, Lesser Antilles and southern Caribbean (Fishbase).
Micropogonias undulatus prefer estuaries and bays through the spring and summer, then travel offshore in the fall to breed (Texas.gov).

Salinity: marine
Salinity: brackish
Habitat: coastal
Habitat: estuarine
Temperature_preferred: 25°C (Fishbase)
Depth_larvae: pelagic
Depth_egg: pelagic
Depth_adult: demersal (Barbieri et al., 1994)
Oxygen_level: oxic
Salinity: 0-35 ppt (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fa148)
Temperature: 9-32°C (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fa148)
Temperature_preferred: 24°C (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fa148)
Depth: 0-1000 m (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fa148)

Life cycle

The maximum life span reported for the species Micropogonias undulatus is 8 years (Barbieri et al., 1994).
They reach sexual maturity at about one year old. Spawning season is in the fall, with a peak between August and October. During spawning season, females will release between 100,000 and 2 million eggs, each about 0.35 mm in diameter. After hatching, the larvae (immature stage) drift toward land. They are abundant on soft bottoms, such as mud, where there are large amounts of detritus for them to feed on. The Atlantic croaker's diet includes shrimp, crabs, and detritus (dead and decomposing plant and animal matter) (Texas.gov).
Spawning of Micropogonias undulatus occurred in the estuary as well as in coastal oceanic waters (Barbieri et al., 1994).
Fecundity estimates of up to 180,000 eggs for a 39 cm female have been reported (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fa148).
No sexual dimorphism.

Longevity: more than 3 years
Generation_time: 3 to 12 months
Reproduction_mode: sexual
Fertility_period: seasonal (during fall, with a peak between July through December) (Texas.gov)
Spawning_method: external fertilization in the water column
Fecondity_number_of_eggs_per_adult: 100,000 to 2 million eggs per spawning season (Texas.gov)

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 Mississippi Sound
Amyloodinium ocellatum Gulf Coast Research Laboratory