Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Inhabits river estuaries and shallow coastal marine waters over sand bottoms, often associated with seagrass beds. Also occurs in salt marshes and tidal pools of high salinity. Feeds mainly on crustaceans and fishes. An important food and sport fish throughout its range. Utilized fresh for steaming, broiling and baking (Ref. 9988).
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"Spotted seatrout males average 19 inches (48 cm) in length. Females are 25 inches (63 cm) long on average. Males and females weigh 2 to 3 pounds (1 to 1.3 kg). Distinguishing characteristics include a dark gray or green back and silvery-white below, with distinct round spots on back, fins and tail; black margin along the edge of tail; soft dorsal (back) fin with no scales; and one or two prominent canine teeth usually present at the tip of the upper jaw.

Small trout feed primarily on small crustaceans. Medium-size trout feed on shrimp and small fish. Large fish feed almost exclusively on other fish. Predators of the spotted seatrout include alligator gar, striped bass, Atlantic croaker, tarpon and barracuda. Spotted seatrout swim near seagrass beds of shallow bays and estuaries during spring and summer, looking for prey. As water temperatures decline during fall, they move into deeper bay waters and the Gulf of Mexico. As water temperatures warm in the spring, the fish return to the shallows of the primary and secondary bays.

Spotted seatrout reaches sexual maturity at one to two years. Most large spotted seatrout caught are females and commonly live to be nine or 10 years of age. Anglers long ago recognized that very large trout were usually female and appropriately called them "sow" trout. A female spotted seatrout may spawn several times during the season. Younger females may release 100,000 eggs and older, larger females may release a million eggs. Recent studies indicate that spotted seatrout spawn between dusk and dawn and usually within coastal bays, estuaries and lagoons. They prefer shallow grassy areas where eggs and larvae have some cover from predators.

Some trout caught may have worms embedded in the flesh along the backbone. These "spaghetti" worms are larval stages of a tapeworm that can only reach maturity in sharks. The worms cannot survive in man even if the seatrout is eaten raw. The worms can easily be removed when the fish is cleaned to make the meat more appealing. The spotted seatrout is a member of the croaker family (Sciaenidae) and is a first cousin to the Atlantic croaker, red drum, black drum, and sand seatrout. "

(Information courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife Department © 2004, http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/wild/species/strout/)

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© Hammock, Jen

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Cynoscion nebulosus, the spotted seatrout is an elongate, fusiform member of the drum family that reaches a maximum length of 100 cm (3.3 feet). Body color is silvery, with the dorsal surface a darker gray tinged with blue. Many small black spots are scattered over the dorsal surface of the body above the lateral line and extend onto the dorsal and caudal fins. The spinous dorsal fin is dusky in color, while all other fins are pale to yellowish in color. The dorsal fin has 12 spines and 25-28 soft rays, with the spinous portion of the fin separated from the soft dorsal fin by a deep notch. The anal fin has 2 spines and 10-11 rays. The caudal fin is truncate or emarginate. The head is slightly concave in profile, with the large mouth set obliquely and the lower jaw projecting beyond the upper. The inside of the mouth is orange. The upper jaw has a large pair of canine teeth at set at the front, while the lower jaw has an enlarged inner row of close-set teeth. The snout has 2 marginal pores. There are no chin barbells. Scales large and ctenoid, covering most of the body surface except the soft dorsal and anal fins, which lack scales. The lateral line extends into the caudal fin and has 66 or more lateral line scales. There are 7-9 gill rakers on lower limb of the gill arch, with rakers relatively short and thick in comparison with other Cynoscion species (Hoese and Moore 1977; Johnson and Seaman 1986).
  • Chao, L.N., 1978 Sciaenidae. In W. Fischer (ed.) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. West Atlantic (Fishing Area 31). Volume 4. FAO, Rome.
  • Adams, C.A., M.J. Oesterling, S.C. Snedaker, and W. Seaman. 1973. Quantitative dietary analysis for selected dominant fishes of the Ten Thousand Islands, Florida. Univ. Fla. Report to the U.S. Fish and Wildl. Serv., Bur. of Sport Fish. 55 pp.
  • Arnold, C.R., T.O. Williams, W.A. Fable, J.L. Lasswell, and W.H. Bailey. 1978. Methods and techniques for spawning and rearing spotted seatrout in the laboratory. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast Assoc. Game Fish. Comm. 30:167-178.
  • Bortone, S.A., (Ed). 2003. Biology of the spotted seatrout. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla.
  • Brown-Peterson, N. J., M. S. Peterson , D.L. Nieland, M.D. Murphy, R.G. Taylor and J.R.Warren. 2002. Reproductive biology of female spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in the Gulf of Mexico: differences among estuaries? Environmental Biology of Fishes 63: 405-415.
  • Brown-Peterson, N., P. Thomas and C.R. Arnold. 1988. Reproductive biology of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in south Texas. Fish. Bull. 86(2):373-388.
  • Carr, W.E.S. and C.A. Adams. 1973. Food habits of juvenile marine fishes occupying seagrass beds in the estuarine zone near Crystal River, Florida. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 102:511-540.
  • Colura, R.L., T.T. Hysmith, and R.E. Stevens. 1976. Fingerling production of striped bass (Morone saxatilis), spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus), and red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), in saltwater ponds. Pages 79-97 in Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Meeting of the World Mariculture Society, San Diego, Calif.
  • Darnell, R. 1958. Food habits of-fishes and large invertebrates of Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, an estuarine community. Publ. Inst. Mar. Sci. Univ. Tex. 5:353-416.
  • Davis, G. E. 1980. Changes in the Everglades National Park red drum and spotted seatrout fisheries 1958-1978: fishing pressure, environmental stress, or natural cycles? Proc. Colloq. Bio. and Manage. of Red Drum and Spotted Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:81-87.
  • Fable, W.A., Jr., T.D. Williams, and C. R. Arnold. 1978. Description of reared eggs and young larvae of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. U.S. Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv. Bull. 76:65-71.
  • Guest, W.C., and G. Gunter. 1958. The seatrout or weakfishes (genus Cynoscion) of the Gulf of Mexico: Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Tech. Summ.l:l-40.
  • Higman, J.B. 1967. Relationships between catch rates of sport fish and environmental conditions in Everglades National Park, Florida. Proc. Gulf Caribb Fish. Inst. 1966:129-140.
  • Holt, G.J. and S.A. Holt. 2002. Effects of variable salinity on reproduction and early life stages of spotted seatrout. In: Biology of the Spotted Seatrout. P.L. Lutz (ed.), CRC Press.
  • Holt, G.J., S.A. Holt, and C.R. Arnold. 1985. Diel periodicity of spawning in sciaenids. Marine Ecology Progressive Series 27:1-7.
  • Houde, E.D. and C.E. Zastrow, 1993 Ecosystem- and taxon-specific dynamic and energetics properties of fish larvae assemblages. Bull. Mar. Sci. 53(2):290-335.
  • International Game Fish Association, 1991 World record game fishes. International Game Fish Association, Florida, USA.
  • Jannke, T. E. 1971. Abundance of young sciaenid fishes in Everglades National Park, Florida, in relation to season and other variables. Univ. Miami Sea Grant Program, Sea Grant Tech. Bull. 11:1-128.
  • Johnson, G.D., 1978. Development of fishes of the Mid-Atlantic Bight. An atlas of egg, larval and juvenile stages. Vol. 4. Carangidae through Ephippidae. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Biol. Serv. Prog. FWS/OBS-78/12.
  • Johnson, D.R., and W. Seaman, Jr. 1986. Species profiles: life histories and environmental requirements of coastal fishes and invertebrates (south Florida)--spotted seatrout. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Biol. Rep. 82(11.43). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, TR EL-82-4. 18 PP.
  • Klima, E.F. and D.C. Tabb, 1959 A contribution to the biology of the spotted weakfish, Cynoscion nebulosus (Cuvier), from Northwest Florida, with a description of the fishes. Florida Board Conserv. Tech. Bull. (30):25 p.
  • Kucera, C.J., C.K. Faulk and G.J. Holt. 2002. The effect of spawning salinity on eggs of spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus, Cuvier) from two bays and historically different salinity regimes. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 272:147-158.
  • Llanso, R. J., S. S. Bell, and F. E. Vose. 1998. Food habits of red drum and spotted seatrout in a restored mangrove impoundment. Estuaries 21(2): 294-308.
  • Lorio, W. J., and W. S. Perret. 1980. Biology and ecology of the spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus Cuvier). Proc. Colloq. Bio.Manage. of the Red Drum and Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:7-13.
  • Maceina, M.J., D.N. Hata, T.L. Linton and A.M. Landry, Jr., 1987 Age and growth analysis of spotted seatrout from Galveston Bay, Texas. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 116:54-59.
  • McMichael, R.H., Jr. and K.M. Peters. 1989. Early life history of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus (Pisces: Sciaenidae), in Tampa Bay, Florida. Estuaries 12:98-110.
  • Mercer, L.P. 1984. A biological fisheries profile for spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. N.C. Dept. Nat. Res. and Community Development Spec. Sci. Rep. 40:1-87.
  • Moffett, A., 1961 Movements and growth of spotted sea trouts, Cynoscion nebulosus, Cuvier, in West Florida. Fla. St. Bd. Cons. Tech. Ser. (36):1-35.
  • Mok, H.-K. and R.G. Gilmore. 1983. Analysis of sound production of estuarine aggregations of Pogonias cromis, Bairdiella chrysoura, and Cynoscion nebulosus (Sciaenidae). Bull. Inst. Zool. Academia Sinica 22:157-186.
  • Muller, R.G., M.D. Murphy, and G. McRae. 1997. An update of the stock assessment for spotted seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus. Report to the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission, Tallahassee, Florida.
  • Muller, R.G. 1993. Update of spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) fisheries in Florida waters with discussion of the impacts of management regulations. Report to the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission, Tallahassee, Florida.
  • Murphy, M.D., G.A. Nelson, and R.G. Muller. 1999. An update of the stock assessment of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Marine Research Institute St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • Murphy, M.D. and R.G. Taylor. 1994. Age, growth, and mortality of spotted seatrout in Florida waters. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 123:482-497.
  • Moody, W. D. 1950. A study of the natural history of the spotted trout,Cynoscion nebulosus, in the Cedar Key, Florida, area. Q. J. Fla. Acad. Sci. 12(3):147-171.
  • Nieland, D.L., R.G. Thomas and C.A. Wilson, 2002 Age, growth, and reproduction of spotted seatrout in Barataria Bay, Louisiana. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 131(2):245-259.
  • Odum, W.E. 1971. Pathways and energy flow in a South Florida estuary. Sea Grant Technical Bulletin 7: 62pp.
  • Overstreet, R., 1983 Aspects of the biology of the spotted sea trout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in Mississippi. Gulf. Res. Rep. Supp. 1:1-43.
  • Pearson, J. C. 1929. Natural history and conservation of the redfish and other commercial sciaenids on the Texas Coast. Bull. U. S. Bur. Fish 4:129- 214.
  • Peebles, E.B. and S.G. Tolley, 1988 Distribution, growth and mortality of larval spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus: a comparison between two adjacent estuarine areas of southwest Florida. Bull. Mar. Sci. 42:397-410.
  • Powell, J.B., E.H. Laban, S.A. Holt and G.J. Holt. 2000. Validation of age estimates from otoliths of larval and juvenile spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Fishery Bulletin 98(3):650-654.
  • Ramsey, P.R. and J.M. Wakeman. 1987. Population structure of Sciaenops ocellatus and Cynoscion nebulosus (Pisces: Sciaenidae): biochemical variation, genetic subdivision and dispersal. Copeia 1987:682-695.
  • Rooker, J.R., S.A. Holt, M.A. Soto, G.J. Holt. 1998. Postsettlement patterns of habitat use by sciaenid fishes in subtropical seagrass meadows. Estuaries 21(2):318-327.
  • Rutherford, E., E. Thue, and D. Buker. 1982. Population characteristics, food habits, and spawning activity of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in Everglades National Park, Florida. South Fla. Res. Cent. Rep. T-668. 48 pp.
  • Saucier, M. H. and D. M. Baltz. 1993. Spawning site selection by spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) and black drum (Pogonias cromis) in Louisiana. Environmental Biology of Fishes 36:257-272.
  • Sundararaj, B. I., and R. D. Suttkus.1962. Fecundity of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus (Cuvier), from Lake Borqne area, Louisiana. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 91:84-88.
  • Tabb, D. 1961 A contribution to the biology of the spotted sea trout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in East Central Florida. Fla. St. Bd. Cons. Tech. Ser. (35):1-23.
  • Tabb, D. C. 1966. The estuary as a habitat for spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus). Am. Fish. Soc. Spec. Publ. No. 3:59-67.
  • Tabb, D. C., D. L. Dubrow, and R. B. Manning. 1962. The ecology of north Florida Bay and adjacent estuaries. Fla. Board Conserv. Tech. Ser. 39:1-81.
  • Taniguchi, A. K. 1980. Effects of the salinity, temperature, and food abundance upon survival of spotted seatrout eggs and larvae. Proc. Colloq. on the Biol. and Mgmnt.of Red Drum and Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:16 (Abstr.).
  • Tucker, J.W. Jr. and B.E. Faulkner, 1987. Voluntary spawning patterns of captive spotted seatrout. NE Gulf. Sci. 9:59-63.
  • Yáñes-Arancibia, A., A.L. Lara-Domínguez and J.W. Day Jr., 1993 Interactions between mangrove and seagrass habitats mediated by estuarine nekton assemblages: coupling of primary and secondary production. Hydrobiologia 264:1-12.
  • Welsh, W. W., and C. M. Breder, Jr. 1924. Contributions to the life histories of Sciaenidae of the eastern United States coast. Bull. U. S. Bur. Fish. 39:141-201.
  • Wohlschlag, D. E., and J. M. Wakeman. 1978. Salinity stresses, metabolic responses and distribution of the coastal spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Contrib. Mar. Sci. Univ. Tex. 21:171-185.
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Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: Atlantic-Gulf Coast from New York to Mexico, with center of abundance in northern Gulf of Mexico and Florida.

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Western Atlantic: New York to southern Florida in USA and the entire Gulf of Mexico.
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Western Atlantic: New York to southern Florida in USA and the entire Gulf of Mexico.
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Spotted seatrout range along the U.S. coast from Massachusetts south through Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico to Texas and Mexico. The center of abundance is the northern Gulf of Mexico and Florida (Pearson 1929). Cynoscion nebulosus occurs throughout the India River Lagoon, but tends to be more abundant in its northern reaches, in the vicinity of Cape Canaveral.Using molecular techniques, FWRI scientists have developed nuclear DNA evidence for 3 distinct groups of spotted seatrout in Florida waters (Seyoum and Bert, unpubl, FWRI). One group occurs from the Florida-Georgia border south to Biscayne Bay. The second group occurs from Biscayne Bay south through Florida Bay and northward to Steinhatchee on the Gulf coast. The third group occurs from Apalachicola westward into the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Chao, L.N., 1978 Sciaenidae. In W. Fischer (ed.) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. West Atlantic (Fishing Area 31). Volume 4. FAO, Rome.
  • Adams, C.A., M.J. Oesterling, S.C. Snedaker, and W. Seaman. 1973. Quantitative dietary analysis for selected dominant fishes of the Ten Thousand Islands, Florida. Univ. Fla. Report to the U.S. Fish and Wildl. Serv., Bur. of Sport Fish. 55 pp.
  • Arnold, C.R., T.O. Williams, W.A. Fable, J.L. Lasswell, and W.H. Bailey. 1978. Methods and techniques for spawning and rearing spotted seatrout in the laboratory. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast Assoc. Game Fish. Comm. 30:167-178.
  • Bortone, S.A., (Ed). 2003. Biology of the spotted seatrout. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla.
  • Brown-Peterson, N. J., M. S. Peterson , D.L. Nieland, M.D. Murphy, R.G. Taylor and J.R.Warren. 2002. Reproductive biology of female spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in the Gulf of Mexico: differences among estuaries? Environmental Biology of Fishes 63: 405-415.
  • Brown-Peterson, N., P. Thomas and C.R. Arnold. 1988. Reproductive biology of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in south Texas. Fish. Bull. 86(2):373-388.
  • Carr, W.E.S. and C.A. Adams. 1973. Food habits of juvenile marine fishes occupying seagrass beds in the estuarine zone near Crystal River, Florida. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 102:511-540.
  • Colura, R.L., T.T. Hysmith, and R.E. Stevens. 1976. Fingerling production of striped bass (Morone saxatilis), spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus), and red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), in saltwater ponds. Pages 79-97 in Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Meeting of the World Mariculture Society, San Diego, Calif.
  • Darnell, R. 1958. Food habits of-fishes and large invertebrates of Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, an estuarine community. Publ. Inst. Mar. Sci. Univ. Tex. 5:353-416.
  • Davis, G. E. 1980. Changes in the Everglades National Park red drum and spotted seatrout fisheries 1958-1978: fishing pressure, environmental stress, or natural cycles? Proc. Colloq. Bio. and Manage. of Red Drum and Spotted Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:81-87.
  • Fable, W.A., Jr., T.D. Williams, and C. R. Arnold. 1978. Description of reared eggs and young larvae of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. U.S. Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv. Bull. 76:65-71.
  • Guest, W.C., and G. Gunter. 1958. The seatrout or weakfishes (genus Cynoscion) of the Gulf of Mexico: Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Tech. Summ.l:l-40.
  • Higman, J.B. 1967. Relationships between catch rates of sport fish and environmental conditions in Everglades National Park, Florida. Proc. Gulf Caribb Fish. Inst. 1966:129-140.
  • Holt, G.J. and S.A. Holt. 2002. Effects of variable salinity on reproduction and early life stages of spotted seatrout. In: Biology of the Spotted Seatrout. P.L. Lutz (ed.), CRC Press.
  • Holt, G.J., S.A. Holt, and C.R. Arnold. 1985. Diel periodicity of spawning in sciaenids. Marine Ecology Progressive Series 27:1-7.
  • Houde, E.D. and C.E. Zastrow, 1993 Ecosystem- and taxon-specific dynamic and energetics properties of fish larvae assemblages. Bull. Mar. Sci. 53(2):290-335.
  • International Game Fish Association, 1991 World record game fishes. International Game Fish Association, Florida, USA.
  • Jannke, T. E. 1971. Abundance of young sciaenid fishes in Everglades National Park, Florida, in relation to season and other variables. Univ. Miami Sea Grant Program, Sea Grant Tech. Bull. 11:1-128.
  • Johnson, G.D., 1978. Development of fishes of the Mid-Atlantic Bight. An atlas of egg, larval and juvenile stages. Vol. 4. Carangidae through Ephippidae. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Biol. Serv. Prog. FWS/OBS-78/12.
  • Johnson, D.R., and W. Seaman, Jr. 1986. Species profiles: life histories and environmental requirements of coastal fishes and invertebrates (south Florida)--spotted seatrout. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Biol. Rep. 82(11.43). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, TR EL-82-4. 18 PP.
  • Klima, E.F. and D.C. Tabb, 1959 A contribution to the biology of the spotted weakfish, Cynoscion nebulosus (Cuvier), from Northwest Florida, with a description of the fishes. Florida Board Conserv. Tech. Bull. (30):25 p.
  • Kucera, C.J., C.K. Faulk and G.J. Holt. 2002. The effect of spawning salinity on eggs of spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus, Cuvier) from two bays and historically different salinity regimes. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 272:147-158.
  • Llanso, R. J., S. S. Bell, and F. E. Vose. 1998. Food habits of red drum and spotted seatrout in a restored mangrove impoundment. Estuaries 21(2): 294-308.
  • Lorio, W. J., and W. S. Perret. 1980. Biology and ecology of the spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus Cuvier). Proc. Colloq. Bio.Manage. of the Red Drum and Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:7-13.
  • Maceina, M.J., D.N. Hata, T.L. Linton and A.M. Landry, Jr., 1987 Age and growth analysis of spotted seatrout from Galveston Bay, Texas. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 116:54-59.
  • McMichael, R.H., Jr. and K.M. Peters. 1989. Early life history of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus (Pisces: Sciaenidae), in Tampa Bay, Florida. Estuaries 12:98-110.
  • Mercer, L.P. 1984. A biological fisheries profile for spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. N.C. Dept. Nat. Res. and Community Development Spec. Sci. Rep. 40:1-87.
  • Moffett, A., 1961 Movements and growth of spotted sea trouts, Cynoscion nebulosus, Cuvier, in West Florida. Fla. St. Bd. Cons. Tech. Ser. (36):1-35.
  • Mok, H.-K. and R.G. Gilmore. 1983. Analysis of sound production of estuarine aggregations of Pogonias cromis, Bairdiella chrysoura, and Cynoscion nebulosus (Sciaenidae). Bull. Inst. Zool. Academia Sinica 22:157-186.
  • Muller, R.G., M.D. Murphy, and G. McRae. 1997. An update of the stock assessment for spotted seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus. Report to the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission, Tallahassee, Florida.
  • Muller, R.G. 1993. Update of spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) fisheries in Florida waters with discussion of the impacts of management regulations. Report to the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission, Tallahassee, Florida.
  • Murphy, M.D., G.A. Nelson, and R.G. Muller. 1999. An update of the stock assessment of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Marine Research Institute St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • Murphy, M.D. and R.G. Taylor. 1994. Age, growth, and mortality of spotted seatrout in Florida waters. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 123:482-497.
  • Moody, W. D. 1950. A study of the natural history of the spotted trout,Cynoscion nebulosus, in the Cedar Key, Florida, area. Q. J. Fla. Acad. Sci. 12(3):147-171.
  • Nieland, D.L., R.G. Thomas and C.A. Wilson, 2002 Age, growth, and reproduction of spotted seatrout in Barataria Bay, Louisiana. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 131(2):245-259.
  • Odum, W.E. 1971. Pathways and energy flow in a South Florida estuary. Sea Grant Technical Bulletin 7: 62pp.
  • Overstreet, R., 1983 Aspects of the biology of the spotted sea trout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in Mississippi. Gulf. Res. Rep. Supp. 1:1-43.
  • Pearson, J. C. 1929. Natural history and conservation of the redfish and other commercial sciaenids on the Texas Coast. Bull. U. S. Bur. Fish 4:129- 214.
  • Peebles, E.B. and S.G. Tolley, 1988 Distribution, growth and mortality of larval spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus: a comparison between two adjacent estuarine areas of southwest Florida. Bull. Mar. Sci. 42:397-410.
  • Powell, J.B., E.H. Laban, S.A. Holt and G.J. Holt. 2000. Validation of age estimates from otoliths of larval and juvenile spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Fishery Bulletin 98(3):650-654.
  • Ramsey, P.R. and J.M. Wakeman. 1987. Population structure of Sciaenops ocellatus and Cynoscion nebulosus (Pisces: Sciaenidae): biochemical variation, genetic subdivision and dispersal. Copeia 1987:682-695.
  • Rooker, J.R., S.A. Holt, M.A. Soto, G.J. Holt. 1998. Postsettlement patterns of habitat use by sciaenid fishes in subtropical seagrass meadows. Estuaries 21(2):318-327.
  • Rutherford, E., E. Thue, and D. Buker. 1982. Population characteristics, food habits, and spawning activity of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in Everglades National Park, Florida. South Fla. Res. Cent. Rep. T-668. 48 pp.
  • Saucier, M. H. and D. M. Baltz. 1993. Spawning site selection by spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) and black drum (Pogonias cromis) in Louisiana. Environmental Biology of Fishes 36:257-272.
  • Sundararaj, B. I., and R. D. Suttkus.1962. Fecundity of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus (Cuvier), from Lake Borqne area, Louisiana. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 91:84-88.
  • Tabb, D. 1961 A contribution to the biology of the spotted sea trout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in East Central Florida. Fla. St. Bd. Cons. Tech. Ser. (35):1-23.
  • Tabb, D. C. 1966. The estuary as a habitat for spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus). Am. Fish. Soc. Spec. Publ. No. 3:59-67.
  • Tabb, D. C., D. L. Dubrow, and R. B. Manning. 1962. The ecology of north Florida Bay and adjacent estuaries. Fla. Board Conserv. Tech. Ser. 39:1-81.
  • Taniguchi, A. K. 1980. Effects of the salinity, temperature, and food abundance upon survival of spotted seatrout eggs and larvae. Proc. Colloq. on the Biol. and Mgmnt.of Red Drum and Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:16 (Abstr.).
  • Tucker, J.W. Jr. and B.E. Faulkner, 1987. Voluntary spawning patterns of captive spotted seatrout. NE Gulf. Sci. 9:59-63.
  • Yáñes-Arancibia, A., A.L. Lara-Domínguez and J.W. Day Jr., 1993 Interactions between mangrove and seagrass habitats mediated by estuarine nekton assemblages: coupling of primary and secondary production. Hydrobiologia 264:1-12.
  • Welsh, W. W., and C. M. Breder, Jr. 1924. Contributions to the life histories of Sciaenidae of the eastern United States coast. Bull. U. S. Bur. Fish. 39:141-201.
  • Wohlschlag, D. E., and J. M. Wakeman. 1978. Salinity stresses, metabolic responses and distribution of the coastal spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Contrib. Mar. Sci. Univ. Tex. 21:171-185.
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Western Atlantic.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 9 - 11; Dorsal soft rays (total): 25 - 28; Analspines: 2; Analsoft rays: 10 - 11
  • Chao, N.L. 2003 Scianidae. Croakers. p. 1583-1653. In K.E. Carpenter (ed.) FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Vol. 3: Bony fishes part 2 (Opistognathidae to Molidae), sea turtles and marine mammals. (Ref. 51721)   http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?id=51721&speccode=405 External link.
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Size

Length: 125 cm

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Maximum size: 910 mm TL
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Max. size

100.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 40637)); max. published weight: 7,920 g (Ref. 40637); max. reported age: 18 years (Ref. 12193)
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The spotted seatrout grows to a maximum size of approximately 100 cm (3.3 feet) total length (TL) and may weigh as much as 7.9 kg (17.4 pounds). The lifespan is approximately 18 years (Hoese and Moore 1977; Johnson and Seaman 1986). Throughout Florida, young males outnumber young females, but females tend to live longer than males (Klima 1959; Moffett 1961; Rutherford et al. 1982). Based on growth ring analysis of scales, females also tend to grow somewhat faster than males (Moffett 1961), with growth averaging 0.7 - 13 cm (0.3 - 5.1 inches) per year, depending on age. Rutherford et al. (1982) reported growth is fastest during the first year, with a growth rate of approximately 21.2 cm (8.3 inches). This rate slows to approximately 4-5 cm (1.6 - 2 inches) per year for fish Ages II - IV. In the oldest fishes studied, growth slowed to approximately 2.2 cm (0.8 inches) per year.Growth rates in Cynoscion nebulosus are temperature dependent, generally slowing or stopping completely in the winter months due to slowing metabolism and reduced feeding (Guest and Gunter 1958; Tabb 1961). Growth rates are highest in July and August (Pearson 1929; Moffett 1961). Murphy and Taylor (1994) estimated length-weight relationships among spotted seatrout in different regions of Florida. They reported that in all areas, males are heavier than females of the same length. Further, there was some difference between estuaries in terms of weight at any given length, with fishes from the Indian River Lagoon and Apalachicola Bay tending to be heavier than seatrout collected from Charlotte Harbor.
  • Chao, L.N., 1978 Sciaenidae. In W. Fischer (ed.) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. West Atlantic (Fishing Area 31). Volume 4. FAO, Rome.
  • Adams, C.A., M.J. Oesterling, S.C. Snedaker, and W. Seaman. 1973. Quantitative dietary analysis for selected dominant fishes of the Ten Thousand Islands, Florida. Univ. Fla. Report to the U.S. Fish and Wildl. Serv., Bur. of Sport Fish. 55 pp.
  • Arnold, C.R., T.O. Williams, W.A. Fable, J.L. Lasswell, and W.H. Bailey. 1978. Methods and techniques for spawning and rearing spotted seatrout in the laboratory. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast Assoc. Game Fish. Comm. 30:167-178.
  • Bortone, S.A., (Ed). 2003. Biology of the spotted seatrout. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla.
  • Brown-Peterson, N. J., M. S. Peterson , D.L. Nieland, M.D. Murphy, R.G. Taylor and J.R.Warren. 2002. Reproductive biology of female spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in the Gulf of Mexico: differences among estuaries? Environmental Biology of Fishes 63: 405-415.
  • Brown-Peterson, N., P. Thomas and C.R. Arnold. 1988. Reproductive biology of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in south Texas. Fish. Bull. 86(2):373-388.
  • Carr, W.E.S. and C.A. Adams. 1973. Food habits of juvenile marine fishes occupying seagrass beds in the estuarine zone near Crystal River, Florida. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 102:511-540.
  • Colura, R.L., T.T. Hysmith, and R.E. Stevens. 1976. Fingerling production of striped bass (Morone saxatilis), spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus), and red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), in saltwater ponds. Pages 79-97 in Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Meeting of the World Mariculture Society, San Diego, Calif.
  • Darnell, R. 1958. Food habits of-fishes and large invertebrates of Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, an estuarine community. Publ. Inst. Mar. Sci. Univ. Tex. 5:353-416.
  • Davis, G. E. 1980. Changes in the Everglades National Park red drum and spotted seatrout fisheries 1958-1978: fishing pressure, environmental stress, or natural cycles? Proc. Colloq. Bio. and Manage. of Red Drum and Spotted Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:81-87.
  • Fable, W.A., Jr., T.D. Williams, and C. R. Arnold. 1978. Description of reared eggs and young larvae of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. U.S. Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv. Bull. 76:65-71.
  • Guest, W.C., and G. Gunter. 1958. The seatrout or weakfishes (genus Cynoscion) of the Gulf of Mexico: Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Tech. Summ.l:l-40.
  • Higman, J.B. 1967. Relationships between catch rates of sport fish and environmental conditions in Everglades National Park, Florida. Proc. Gulf Caribb Fish. Inst. 1966:129-140.
  • Holt, G.J. and S.A. Holt. 2002. Effects of variable salinity on reproduction and early life stages of spotted seatrout. In: Biology of the Spotted Seatrout. P.L. Lutz (ed.), CRC Press.
  • Holt, G.J., S.A. Holt, and C.R. Arnold. 1985. Diel periodicity of spawning in sciaenids. Marine Ecology Progressive Series 27:1-7.
  • Houde, E.D. and C.E. Zastrow, 1993 Ecosystem- and taxon-specific dynamic and energetics properties of fish larvae assemblages. Bull. Mar. Sci. 53(2):290-335.
  • International Game Fish Association, 1991 World record game fishes. International Game Fish Association, Florida, USA.
  • Jannke, T. E. 1971. Abundance of young sciaenid fishes in Everglades National Park, Florida, in relation to season and other variables. Univ. Miami Sea Grant Program, Sea Grant Tech. Bull. 11:1-128.
  • Johnson, G.D., 1978. Development of fishes of the Mid-Atlantic Bight. An atlas of egg, larval and juvenile stages. Vol. 4. Carangidae through Ephippidae. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Biol. Serv. Prog. FWS/OBS-78/12.
  • Johnson, D.R., and W. Seaman, Jr. 1986. Species profiles: life histories and environmental requirements of coastal fishes and invertebrates (south Florida)--spotted seatrout. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Biol. Rep. 82(11.43). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, TR EL-82-4. 18 PP.
  • Klima, E.F. and D.C. Tabb, 1959 A contribution to the biology of the spotted weakfish, Cynoscion nebulosus (Cuvier), from Northwest Florida, with a description of the fishes. Florida Board Conserv. Tech. Bull. (30):25 p.
  • Kucera, C.J., C.K. Faulk and G.J. Holt. 2002. The effect of spawning salinity on eggs of spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus, Cuvier) from two bays and historically different salinity regimes. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 272:147-158.
  • Llanso, R. J., S. S. Bell, and F. E. Vose. 1998. Food habits of red drum and spotted seatrout in a restored mangrove impoundment. Estuaries 21(2): 294-308.
  • Lorio, W. J., and W. S. Perret. 1980. Biology and ecology of the spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus Cuvier). Proc. Colloq. Bio.Manage. of the Red Drum and Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:7-13.
  • Maceina, M.J., D.N. Hata, T.L. Linton and A.M. Landry, Jr., 1987 Age and growth analysis of spotted seatrout from Galveston Bay, Texas. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 116:54-59.
  • McMichael, R.H., Jr. and K.M. Peters. 1989. Early life history of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus (Pisces: Sciaenidae), in Tampa Bay, Florida. Estuaries 12:98-110.
  • Mercer, L.P. 1984. A biological fisheries profile for spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. N.C. Dept. Nat. Res. and Community Development Spec. Sci. Rep. 40:1-87.
  • Moffett, A., 1961 Movements and growth of spotted sea trouts, Cynoscion nebulosus, Cuvier, in West Florida. Fla. St. Bd. Cons. Tech. Ser. (36):1-35.
  • Mok, H.-K. and R.G. Gilmore. 1983. Analysis of sound production of estuarine aggregations of Pogonias cromis, Bairdiella chrysoura, and Cynoscion nebulosus (Sciaenidae). Bull. Inst. Zool. Academia Sinica 22:157-186.
  • Muller, R.G., M.D. Murphy, and G. McRae. 1997. An update of the stock assessment for spotted seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus. Report to the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission, Tallahassee, Florida.
  • Muller, R.G. 1993. Update of spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) fisheries in Florida waters with discussion of the impacts of management regulations. Report to the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission, Tallahassee, Florida.
  • Murphy, M.D., G.A. Nelson, and R.G. Muller. 1999. An update of the stock assessment of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Marine Research Institute St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • Murphy, M.D. and R.G. Taylor. 1994. Age, growth, and mortality of spotted seatrout in Florida waters. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 123:482-497.
  • Moody, W. D. 1950. A study of the natural history of the spotted trout,Cynoscion nebulosus, in the Cedar Key, Florida, area. Q. J. Fla. Acad. Sci. 12(3):147-171.
  • Nieland, D.L., R.G. Thomas and C.A. Wilson, 2002 Age, growth, and reproduction of spotted seatrout in Barataria Bay, Louisiana. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 131(2):245-259.
  • Odum, W.E. 1971. Pathways and energy flow in a South Florida estuary. Sea Grant Technical Bulletin 7: 62pp.
  • Overstreet, R., 1983 Aspects of the biology of the spotted sea trout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in Mississippi. Gulf. Res. Rep. Supp. 1:1-43.
  • Pearson, J. C. 1929. Natural history and conservation of the redfish and other commercial sciaenids on the Texas Coast. Bull. U. S. Bur. Fish 4:129- 214.
  • Peebles, E.B. and S.G. Tolley, 1988 Distribution, growth and mortality of larval spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus: a comparison between two adjacent estuarine areas of southwest Florida. Bull. Mar. Sci. 42:397-410.
  • Powell, J.B., E.H. Laban, S.A. Holt and G.J. Holt. 2000. Validation of age estimates from otoliths of larval and juvenile spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Fishery Bulletin 98(3):650-654.
  • Ramsey, P.R. and J.M. Wakeman. 1987. Population structure of Sciaenops ocellatus and Cynoscion nebulosus (Pisces: Sciaenidae): biochemical variation, genetic subdivision and dispersal. Copeia 1987:682-695.
  • Rooker, J.R., S.A. Holt, M.A. Soto, G.J. Holt. 1998. Postsettlement patterns of habitat use by sciaenid fishes in subtropical seagrass meadows. Estuaries 21(2):318-327.
  • Rutherford, E., E. Thue, and D. Buker. 1982. Population characteristics, food habits, and spawning activity of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in Everglades National Park, Florida. South Fla. Res. Cent. Rep. T-668. 48 pp.
  • Saucier, M. H. and D. M. Baltz. 1993. Spawning site selection by spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) and black drum (Pogonias cromis) in Louisiana. Environmental Biology of Fishes 36:257-272.
  • Sundararaj, B. I., and R. D. Suttkus.1962. Fecundity of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus (Cuvier), from Lake Borqne area, Louisiana. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 91:84-88.
  • Tabb, D. 1961 A contribution to the biology of the spotted sea trout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in East Central Florida. Fla. St. Bd. Cons. Tech. Ser. (35):1-23.
  • Tabb, D. C. 1966. The estuary as a habitat for spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus). Am. Fish. Soc. Spec. Publ. No. 3:59-67.
  • Tabb, D. C., D. L. Dubrow, and R. B. Manning. 1962. The ecology of north Florida Bay and adjacent estuaries. Fla. Board Conserv. Tech. Ser. 39:1-81.
  • Taniguchi, A. K. 1980. Effects of the salinity, temperature, and food abundance upon survival of spotted seatrout eggs and larvae. Proc. Colloq. on the Biol. and Mgmnt.of Red Drum and Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:16 (Abstr.).
  • Tucker, J.W. Jr. and B.E. Faulkner, 1987. Voluntary spawning patterns of captive spotted seatrout. NE Gulf. Sci. 9:59-63.
  • Yáñes-Arancibia, A., A.L. Lara-Domínguez and J.W. Day Jr., 1993 Interactions between mangrove and seagrass habitats mediated by estuarine nekton assemblages: coupling of primary and secondary production. Hydrobiologia 264:1-12.
  • Welsh, W. W., and C. M. Breder, Jr. 1924. Contributions to the life histories of Sciaenidae of the eastern United States coast. Bull. U. S. Bur. Fish. 39:141-201.
  • Wohlschlag, D. E., and J. M. Wakeman. 1978. Salinity stresses, metabolic responses and distribution of the coastal spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Contrib. Mar. Sci. Univ. Tex. 21:171-185.
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Diagnostic Description

Body silvery, dark grey on back with bluish reflections and numerous round black spots irregularly scattered on upper half, extending to dorsal and caudal fin. Spinous dorsal fin dusky, other fins pale to yellowish. Mouth large, oblique lower jaw projecting. Upper jaw with a pair of large canine-like teeth at tip. Lower jaw with an enlarged inner row of teeth, uniform in size and closely set. Chin without barbels or pores. Snout with 2 marginal pores. Gas bladder with a pair of nearly straight horn-like appendages. Soft portion of dorsal fin unscaled (Ref 51721).
  • Chao, N.L. 2003 Scianidae. Croakers. p. 1583-1653. In K.E. Carpenter (ed.) FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Vol. 3: Bony fishes part 2 (Opistognathidae to Molidae), sea turtles and marine mammals. (Ref. 51721)   http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?id=51721&speccode=405 External link.
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Look Alikes

Cynoscion nebulosus may be confused with others of its genus, particularly the weakfish, C. regalis. However, its distinctive pattern of black spots scattered along the upper body and extending into the caudal and dorsal fins, easily distinguish it from C. regalis and other seatrout.
  • Chao, L.N., 1978 Sciaenidae. In W. Fischer (ed.) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. West Atlantic (Fishing Area 31). Volume 4. FAO, Rome.
  • Adams, C.A., M.J. Oesterling, S.C. Snedaker, and W. Seaman. 1973. Quantitative dietary analysis for selected dominant fishes of the Ten Thousand Islands, Florida. Univ. Fla. Report to the U.S. Fish and Wildl. Serv., Bur. of Sport Fish. 55 pp.
  • Arnold, C.R., T.O. Williams, W.A. Fable, J.L. Lasswell, and W.H. Bailey. 1978. Methods and techniques for spawning and rearing spotted seatrout in the laboratory. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast Assoc. Game Fish. Comm. 30:167-178.
  • Bortone, S.A., (Ed). 2003. Biology of the spotted seatrout. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla.
  • Brown-Peterson, N. J., M. S. Peterson , D.L. Nieland, M.D. Murphy, R.G. Taylor and J.R.Warren. 2002. Reproductive biology of female spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in the Gulf of Mexico: differences among estuaries? Environmental Biology of Fishes 63: 405-415.
  • Brown-Peterson, N., P. Thomas and C.R. Arnold. 1988. Reproductive biology of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in south Texas. Fish. Bull. 86(2):373-388.
  • Carr, W.E.S. and C.A. Adams. 1973. Food habits of juvenile marine fishes occupying seagrass beds in the estuarine zone near Crystal River, Florida. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 102:511-540.
  • Colura, R.L., T.T. Hysmith, and R.E. Stevens. 1976. Fingerling production of striped bass (Morone saxatilis), spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus), and red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), in saltwater ponds. Pages 79-97 in Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Meeting of the World Mariculture Society, San Diego, Calif.
  • Darnell, R. 1958. Food habits of-fishes and large invertebrates of Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, an estuarine community. Publ. Inst. Mar. Sci. Univ. Tex. 5:353-416.
  • Davis, G. E. 1980. Changes in the Everglades National Park red drum and spotted seatrout fisheries 1958-1978: fishing pressure, environmental stress, or natural cycles? Proc. Colloq. Bio. and Manage. of Red Drum and Spotted Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:81-87.
  • Fable, W.A., Jr., T.D. Williams, and C. R. Arnold. 1978. Description of reared eggs and young larvae of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. U.S. Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv. Bull. 76:65-71.
  • Guest, W.C., and G. Gunter. 1958. The seatrout or weakfishes (genus Cynoscion) of the Gulf of Mexico: Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Tech. Summ.l:l-40.
  • Higman, J.B. 1967. Relationships between catch rates of sport fish and environmental conditions in Everglades National Park, Florida. Proc. Gulf Caribb Fish. Inst. 1966:129-140.
  • Holt, G.J. and S.A. Holt. 2002. Effects of variable salinity on reproduction and early life stages of spotted seatrout. In: Biology of the Spotted Seatrout. P.L. Lutz (ed.), CRC Press.
  • Holt, G.J., S.A. Holt, and C.R. Arnold. 1985. Diel periodicity of spawning in sciaenids. Marine Ecology Progressive Series 27:1-7.
  • Houde, E.D. and C.E. Zastrow, 1993 Ecosystem- and taxon-specific dynamic and energetics properties of fish larvae assemblages. Bull. Mar. Sci. 53(2):290-335.
  • International Game Fish Association, 1991 World record game fishes. International Game Fish Association, Florida, USA.
  • Jannke, T. E. 1971. Abundance of young sciaenid fishes in Everglades National Park, Florida, in relation to season and other variables. Univ. Miami Sea Grant Program, Sea Grant Tech. Bull. 11:1-128.
  • Johnson, G.D., 1978. Development of fishes of the Mid-Atlantic Bight. An atlas of egg, larval and juvenile stages. Vol. 4. Carangidae through Ephippidae. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Biol. Serv. Prog. FWS/OBS-78/12.
  • Johnson, D.R., and W. Seaman, Jr. 1986. Species profiles: life histories and environmental requirements of coastal fishes and invertebrates (south Florida)--spotted seatrout. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Biol. Rep. 82(11.43). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, TR EL-82-4. 18 PP.
  • Klima, E.F. and D.C. Tabb, 1959 A contribution to the biology of the spotted weakfish, Cynoscion nebulosus (Cuvier), from Northwest Florida, with a description of the fishes. Florida Board Conserv. Tech. Bull. (30):25 p.
  • Kucera, C.J., C.K. Faulk and G.J. Holt. 2002. The effect of spawning salinity on eggs of spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus, Cuvier) from two bays and historically different salinity regimes. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 272:147-158.
  • Llanso, R. J., S. S. Bell, and F. E. Vose. 1998. Food habits of red drum and spotted seatrout in a restored mangrove impoundment. Estuaries 21(2): 294-308.
  • Lorio, W. J., and W. S. Perret. 1980. Biology and ecology of the spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus Cuvier). Proc. Colloq. Bio.Manage. of the Red Drum and Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:7-13.
  • Maceina, M.J., D.N. Hata, T.L. Linton and A.M. Landry, Jr., 1987 Age and growth analysis of spotted seatrout from Galveston Bay, Texas. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 116:54-59.
  • McMichael, R.H., Jr. and K.M. Peters. 1989. Early life history of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus (Pisces: Sciaenidae), in Tampa Bay, Florida. Estuaries 12:98-110.
  • Mercer, L.P. 1984. A biological fisheries profile for spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. N.C. Dept. Nat. Res. and Community Development Spec. Sci. Rep. 40:1-87.
  • Moffett, A., 1961 Movements and growth of spotted sea trouts, Cynoscion nebulosus, Cuvier, in West Florida. Fla. St. Bd. Cons. Tech. Ser. (36):1-35.
  • Mok, H.-K. and R.G. Gilmore. 1983. Analysis of sound production of estuarine aggregations of Pogonias cromis, Bairdiella chrysoura, and Cynoscion nebulosus (Sciaenidae). Bull. Inst. Zool. Academia Sinica 22:157-186.
  • Muller, R.G., M.D. Murphy, and G. McRae. 1997. An update of the stock assessment for spotted seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus. Report to the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission, Tallahassee, Florida.
  • Muller, R.G. 1993. Update of spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) fisheries in Florida waters with discussion of the impacts of management regulations. Report to the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission, Tallahassee, Florida.
  • Murphy, M.D., G.A. Nelson, and R.G. Muller. 1999. An update of the stock assessment of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Marine Research Institute St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • Murphy, M.D. and R.G. Taylor. 1994. Age, growth, and mortality of spotted seatrout in Florida waters. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 123:482-497.
  • Moody, W. D. 1950. A study of the natural history of the spotted trout,Cynoscion nebulosus, in the Cedar Key, Florida, area. Q. J. Fla. Acad. Sci. 12(3):147-171.
  • Nieland, D.L., R.G. Thomas and C.A. Wilson, 2002 Age, growth, and reproduction of spotted seatrout in Barataria Bay, Louisiana. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 131(2):245-259.
  • Odum, W.E. 1971. Pathways and energy flow in a South Florida estuary. Sea Grant Technical Bulletin 7: 62pp.
  • Overstreet, R., 1983 Aspects of the biology of the spotted sea trout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in Mississippi. Gulf. Res. Rep. Supp. 1:1-43.
  • Pearson, J. C. 1929. Natural history and conservation of the redfish and other commercial sciaenids on the Texas Coast. Bull. U. S. Bur. Fish 4:129- 214.
  • Peebles, E.B. and S.G. Tolley, 1988 Distribution, growth and mortality of larval spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus: a comparison between two adjacent estuarine areas of southwest Florida. Bull. Mar. Sci. 42:397-410.
  • Powell, J.B., E.H. Laban, S.A. Holt and G.J. Holt. 2000. Validation of age estimates from otoliths of larval and juvenile spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Fishery Bulletin 98(3):650-654.
  • Ramsey, P.R. and J.M. Wakeman. 1987. Population structure of Sciaenops ocellatus and Cynoscion nebulosus (Pisces: Sciaenidae): biochemical variation, genetic subdivision and dispersal. Copeia 1987:682-695.
  • Rooker, J.R., S.A. Holt, M.A. Soto, G.J. Holt. 1998. Postsettlement patterns of habitat use by sciaenid fishes in subtropical seagrass meadows. Estuaries 21(2):318-327.
  • Rutherford, E., E. Thue, and D. Buker. 1982. Population characteristics, food habits, and spawning activity of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in Everglades National Park, Florida. South Fla. Res. Cent. Rep. T-668. 48 pp.
  • Saucier, M. H. and D. M. Baltz. 1993. Spawning site selection by spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) and black drum (Pogonias cromis) in Louisiana. Environmental Biology of Fishes 36:257-272.
  • Sundararaj, B. I., and R. D. Suttkus.1962. Fecundity of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus (Cuvier), from Lake Borqne area, Louisiana. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 91:84-88.
  • Tabb, D. 1961 A contribution to the biology of the spotted sea trout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in East Central Florida. Fla. St. Bd. Cons. Tech. Ser. (35):1-23.
  • Tabb, D. C. 1966. The estuary as a habitat for spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus). Am. Fish. Soc. Spec. Publ. No. 3:59-67.
  • Tabb, D. C., D. L. Dubrow, and R. B. Manning. 1962. The ecology of north Florida Bay and adjacent estuaries. Fla. Board Conserv. Tech. Ser. 39:1-81.
  • Taniguchi, A. K. 1980. Effects of the salinity, temperature, and food abundance upon survival of spotted seatrout eggs and larvae. Proc. Colloq. on the Biol. and Mgmnt.of Red Drum and Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:16 (Abstr.).
  • Tucker, J.W. Jr. and B.E. Faulkner, 1987. Voluntary spawning patterns of captive spotted seatrout. NE Gulf. Sci. 9:59-63.
  • Yáñes-Arancibia, A., A.L. Lara-Domínguez and J.W. Day Jr., 1993 Interactions between mangrove and seagrass habitats mediated by estuarine nekton assemblages: coupling of primary and secondary production. Hydrobiologia 264:1-12.
  • Welsh, W. W., and C. M. Breder, Jr. 1924. Contributions to the life histories of Sciaenidae of the eastern United States coast. Bull. U. S. Bur. Fish. 39:141-201.
  • Wohlschlag, D. E., and J. M. Wakeman. 1978. Salinity stresses, metabolic responses and distribution of the coastal spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Contrib. Mar. Sci. Univ. Tex. 21:171-185.
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Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat Type: Marine

Comments: Euryhaline but prefers low to medium salinity of coastal waters and brackish estuaries. Young often in estuaries and grass beds. Sometimes associated with hard substrate areas. Adults in winter may move to deeper channels or offshore.

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benthic
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Source: World Register of Marine Species

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Environment

demersal; brackish; marine; depth range 10 - ? m (Ref. 9988)
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Depth range based on 55 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 7 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 44
  Temperature range (°C): 21.296 - 24.813
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.286 - 0.672
  Salinity (PPS): 34.478 - 36.128
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.605 - 5.176
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.099 - 0.221
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.756 - 1.848

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 44

Temperature range (°C): 21.296 - 24.813

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.286 - 0.672

Salinity (PPS): 34.478 - 36.128

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.605 - 5.176

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.099 - 0.221

Silicate (umol/l): 0.756 - 1.848
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Adults eat various bottom and midwater animals, including fishes, crabs, and shrimp; adults form small schools and with incoming tide move onto shoals to feed (Manooch 1984).

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Inhabits river estuaries and shallow coastal marine waters over sand bottoms, often associated with seagrass beds. Also occurs in salt marshes and tidal pools of high salinity. Feeds mainly on crustaceans and fishes.
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Cynoscion nebulosus is among the top predators in many estuaries, and sometimes is the only large carnivore in an estuary (Tabb 1966). Small seatrout 20-50mm (0.8 - 2 inches) SL are planktivorous and feed primarily on copepods (Moody 1950; Tabb 1961; Adams et al. 1973; Rutherford et al. 1982; McMichael and Peters 1989). Larger seatrout, to 70 mm (2.8 inches) in length feed primarily on benthic invertebrates, especially mysids (Moody 1950, Darnell 1958; McMichael and Peters 1989). A dietary shift occurs once seatrout reach approximately 40 - 150 mm (1.6 - 5.9 inches) and begin to feed more on penaeid shrimps and small fishes (Moody 1950; McMichael and Peters 1989). Indian River Lagoon seatrout were reported to consume shrimp in the summer and early winter, the most abundant period for shrimp; but switched to fish in late winter through spring (Tabb 1961).Cynoscion nebulosus feed in midwater or near the surface, with major food species including anchovies, pinfish, silversides, mullet, croakers, menhaden, snapper, gobies, mojarras and silver trout (Moody 1950; Darnell 1958; Adams et al. 1973; Rutherford et al. 1982). Competitors: Probable competitors for both food and space, particularly in the early life history stages include other sciaenids, pinfish, menhaden, catfishes, anchovies and silversides. Various types of invertebrate larvae may also compete with larval seatrout for copepods and other zooplankton (Tabb 1961; Rutherford et al. 1982).Adult seatrout are likely to compete with other shrimp-feeding and fish-feeding species such as sand trout, Cynoscion arenarius; redfish, Sciaenops ocellatus; flounders, Paralicthyes spp., catfishes, snook, Centropomus spp., snapper, jacks, and tarpon, Megalops atlanitcus (Johnson and Seaman 1986).Predators:Larger fishes are the major predators on Cynoscion nebulosus. Predatory birds, especially osprey, also impact seatrout populations. Habitats: Cynoscion nebulosus are commonly found in shallow, vegetated, brackish and marine waters to a depth of approximately 10 m (32 feet). They are often associated with seagrasses and saltmarshes adjacent to deeper channels that are used as refuges from temperature extremes (Moody 1950; Tabb 1958).Larvae are most common in shallow seagrass beds in bays and lagoons during the summer months. Juveniles and pre-recruits measuring less than 355 mm (13.9 inches) TL associate with seagrasses, though some are found in channels and backwater areas as well (Tabb 1966; McMichael and Peters 1989). Adults occur in a wide variety of estuarine habitats including shallow seagrass beds, oyster reefs, over sand bottoms, deep holes, in mangrove creeks, and in areas having manmade structures such as docks and piers.In Florida, spotted seatrout tend to spawn and live in particular estuaries, never migrating more than short distances (Johnson and Seaman 1986). Spawning habitat includes the non-tidal areas of estuaries and bays, deeper channels adjacent to seagrass beds, near tidal passes and also nearshore waters outside of estuaries (Pearson 1929; Tabb 1961; Tabb et al. 1962; Jannke 1971). Activity Time: Spawning typically occurs at night with individuals in the school lightly bumping one another along the sides as males in the school produce croaking and grunting sounds by vibration of their swim bladders. Feeding occurs most actively in the early morning hours (Johnson and Seaman 1986).
  • Chao, L.N., 1978 Sciaenidae. In W. Fischer (ed.) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. West Atlantic (Fishing Area 31). Volume 4. FAO, Rome.
  • Adams, C.A., M.J. Oesterling, S.C. Snedaker, and W. Seaman. 1973. Quantitative dietary analysis for selected dominant fishes of the Ten Thousand Islands, Florida. Univ. Fla. Report to the U.S. Fish and Wildl. Serv., Bur. of Sport Fish. 55 pp.
  • Arnold, C.R., T.O. Williams, W.A. Fable, J.L. Lasswell, and W.H. Bailey. 1978. Methods and techniques for spawning and rearing spotted seatrout in the laboratory. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast Assoc. Game Fish. Comm. 30:167-178.
  • Bortone, S.A., (Ed). 2003. Biology of the spotted seatrout. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla.
  • Brown-Peterson, N. J., M. S. Peterson , D.L. Nieland, M.D. Murphy, R.G. Taylor and J.R.Warren. 2002. Reproductive biology of female spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in the Gulf of Mexico: differences among estuaries? Environmental Biology of Fishes 63: 405-415.
  • Brown-Peterson, N., P. Thomas and C.R. Arnold. 1988. Reproductive biology of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in south Texas. Fish. Bull. 86(2):373-388.
  • Carr, W.E.S. and C.A. Adams. 1973. Food habits of juvenile marine fishes occupying seagrass beds in the estuarine zone near Crystal River, Florida. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 102:511-540.
  • Colura, R.L., T.T. Hysmith, and R.E. Stevens. 1976. Fingerling production of striped bass (Morone saxatilis), spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus), and red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), in saltwater ponds. Pages 79-97 in Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Meeting of the World Mariculture Society, San Diego, Calif.
  • Darnell, R. 1958. Food habits of-fishes and large invertebrates of Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, an estuarine community. Publ. Inst. Mar. Sci. Univ. Tex. 5:353-416.
  • Davis, G. E. 1980. Changes in the Everglades National Park red drum and spotted seatrout fisheries 1958-1978: fishing pressure, environmental stress, or natural cycles? Proc. Colloq. Bio. and Manage. of Red Drum and Spotted Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:81-87.
  • Fable, W.A., Jr., T.D. Williams, and C. R. Arnold. 1978. Description of reared eggs and young larvae of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. U.S. Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv. Bull. 76:65-71.
  • Guest, W.C., and G. Gunter. 1958. The seatrout or weakfishes (genus Cynoscion) of the Gulf of Mexico: Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Tech. Summ.l:l-40.
  • Higman, J.B. 1967. Relationships between catch rates of sport fish and environmental conditions in Everglades National Park, Florida. Proc. Gulf Caribb Fish. Inst. 1966:129-140.
  • Holt, G.J. and S.A. Holt. 2002. Effects of variable salinity on reproduction and early life stages of spotted seatrout. In: Biology of the Spotted Seatrout. P.L. Lutz (ed.), CRC Press.
  • Holt, G.J., S.A. Holt, and C.R. Arnold. 1985. Diel periodicity of spawning in sciaenids. Marine Ecology Progressive Series 27:1-7.
  • Houde, E.D. and C.E. Zastrow, 1993 Ecosystem- and taxon-specific dynamic and energetics properties of fish larvae assemblages. Bull. Mar. Sci. 53(2):290-335.
  • International Game Fish Association, 1991 World record game fishes. International Game Fish Association, Florida, USA.
  • Jannke, T. E. 1971. Abundance of young sciaenid fishes in Everglades National Park, Florida, in relation to season and other variables. Univ. Miami Sea Grant Program, Sea Grant Tech. Bull. 11:1-128.
  • Johnson, G.D., 1978. Development of fishes of the Mid-Atlantic Bight. An atlas of egg, larval and juvenile stages. Vol. 4. Carangidae through Ephippidae. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Biol. Serv. Prog. FWS/OBS-78/12.
  • Johnson, D.R., and W. Seaman, Jr. 1986. Species profiles: life histories and environmental requirements of coastal fishes and invertebrates (south Florida)--spotted seatrout. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Biol. Rep. 82(11.43). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, TR EL-82-4. 18 PP.
  • Klima, E.F. and D.C. Tabb, 1959 A contribution to the biology of the spotted weakfish, Cynoscion nebulosus (Cuvier), from Northwest Florida, with a description of the fishes. Florida Board Conserv. Tech. Bull. (30):25 p.
  • Kucera, C.J., C.K. Faulk and G.J. Holt. 2002. The effect of spawning salinity on eggs of spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus, Cuvier) from two bays and historically different salinity regimes. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 272:147-158.
  • Llanso, R. J., S. S. Bell, and F. E. Vose. 1998. Food habits of red drum and spotted seatrout in a restored mangrove impoundment. Estuaries 21(2): 294-308.
  • Lorio, W. J., and W. S. Perret. 1980. Biology and ecology of the spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus Cuvier). Proc. Colloq. Bio.Manage. of the Red Drum and Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:7-13.
  • Maceina, M.J., D.N. Hata, T.L. Linton and A.M. Landry, Jr., 1987 Age and growth analysis of spotted seatrout from Galveston Bay, Texas. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 116:54-59.
  • McMichael, R.H., Jr. and K.M. Peters. 1989. Early life history of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus (Pisces: Sciaenidae), in Tampa Bay, Florida. Estuaries 12:98-110.
  • Mercer, L.P. 1984. A biological fisheries profile for spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. N.C. Dept. Nat. Res. and Community Development Spec. Sci. Rep. 40:1-87.
  • Moffett, A., 1961 Movements and growth of spotted sea trouts, Cynoscion nebulosus, Cuvier, in West Florida. Fla. St. Bd. Cons. Tech. Ser. (36):1-35.
  • Mok, H.-K. and R.G. Gilmore. 1983. Analysis of sound production of estuarine aggregations of Pogonias cromis, Bairdiella chrysoura, and Cynoscion nebulosus (Sciaenidae). Bull. Inst. Zool. Academia Sinica 22:157-186.
  • Muller, R.G., M.D. Murphy, and G. McRae. 1997. An update of the stock assessment for spotted seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus. Report to the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission, Tallahassee, Florida.
  • Muller, R.G. 1993. Update of spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) fisheries in Florida waters with discussion of the impacts of management regulations. Report to the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission, Tallahassee, Florida.
  • Murphy, M.D., G.A. Nelson, and R.G. Muller. 1999. An update of the stock assessment of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Marine Research Institute St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • Murphy, M.D. and R.G. Taylor. 1994. Age, growth, and mortality of spotted seatrout in Florida waters. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 123:482-497.
  • Moody, W. D. 1950. A study of the natural history of the spotted trout,Cynoscion nebulosus, in the Cedar Key, Florida, area. Q. J. Fla. Acad. Sci. 12(3):147-171.
  • Nieland, D.L., R.G. Thomas and C.A. Wilson, 2002 Age, growth, and reproduction of spotted seatrout in Barataria Bay, Louisiana. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 131(2):245-259.
  • Odum, W.E. 1971. Pathways and energy flow in a South Florida estuary. Sea Grant Technical Bulletin 7: 62pp.
  • Overstreet, R., 1983 Aspects of the biology of the spotted sea trout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in Mississippi. Gulf. Res. Rep. Supp. 1:1-43.
  • Pearson, J. C. 1929. Natural history and conservation of the redfish and other commercial sciaenids on the Texas Coast. Bull. U. S. Bur. Fish 4:129- 214.
  • Peebles, E.B. and S.G. Tolley, 1988 Distribution, growth and mortality of larval spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus: a comparison between two adjacent estuarine areas of southwest Florida. Bull. Mar. Sci. 42:397-410.
  • Powell, J.B., E.H. Laban, S.A. Holt and G.J. Holt. 2000. Validation of age estimates from otoliths of larval and juvenile spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Fishery Bulletin 98(3):650-654.
  • Ramsey, P.R. and J.M. Wakeman. 1987. Population structure of Sciaenops ocellatus and Cynoscion nebulosus (Pisces: Sciaenidae): biochemical variation, genetic subdivision and dispersal. Copeia 1987:682-695.
  • Rooker, J.R., S.A. Holt, M.A. Soto, G.J. Holt. 1998. Postsettlement patterns of habitat use by sciaenid fishes in subtropical seagrass meadows. Estuaries 21(2):318-327.
  • Rutherford, E., E. Thue, and D. Buker. 1982. Population characteristics, food habits, and spawning activity of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in Everglades National Park, Florida. South Fla. Res. Cent. Rep. T-668. 48 pp.
  • Saucier, M. H. and D. M. Baltz. 1993. Spawning site selection by spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) and black drum (Pogonias cromis) in Louisiana. Environmental Biology of Fishes 36:257-272.
  • Sundararaj, B. I., and R. D. Suttkus.1962. Fecundity of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus (Cuvier), from Lake Borqne area, Louisiana. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 91:84-88.
  • Tabb, D. 1961 A contribution to the biology of the spotted sea trout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in East Central Florida. Fla. St. Bd. Cons. Tech. Ser. (35):1-23.
  • Tabb, D. C. 1966. The estuary as a habitat for spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus). Am. Fish. Soc. Spec. Publ. No. 3:59-67.
  • Tabb, D. C., D. L. Dubrow, and R. B. Manning. 1962. The ecology of north Florida Bay and adjacent estuaries. Fla. Board Conserv. Tech. Ser. 39:1-81.
  • Taniguchi, A. K. 1980. Effects of the salinity, temperature, and food abundance upon survival of spotted seatrout eggs and larvae. Proc. Colloq. on the Biol. and Mgmnt.of Red Drum and Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:16 (Abstr.).
  • Tucker, J.W. Jr. and B.E. Faulkner, 1987. Voluntary spawning patterns of captive spotted seatrout. NE Gulf. Sci. 9:59-63.
  • Yáñes-Arancibia, A., A.L. Lara-Domínguez and J.W. Day Jr., 1993 Interactions between mangrove and seagrass habitats mediated by estuarine nekton assemblages: coupling of primary and secondary production. Hydrobiologia 264:1-12.
  • Welsh, W. W., and C. M. Breder, Jr. 1924. Contributions to the life histories of Sciaenidae of the eastern United States coast. Bull. U. S. Bur. Fish. 39:141-201.
  • Wohlschlag, D. E., and J. M. Wakeman. 1978. Salinity stresses, metabolic responses and distribution of the coastal spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Contrib. Mar. Sci. Univ. Tex. 21:171-185.
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Source: Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Spawns late spring through early fall; generally sexually mature between 1st and 3rd years of life (Manooch 1984).

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Spotted seatrout mature at 1-4 years of age (Lorio and Perret 1980). Tabb (1961) reported that in the IRL, females mature at 3-4 years of age, while males mature at 2-3 years of age. Females tend to be larger at maturity than are males (Moody 1950; Moffett 1961). Length at maturity varies by region; however, most spotted seatrout spawn at 24-25 cm (9.4 - 9.8 inches) standard length (Moody 1950). Cynoscion nebulosus spawn in nearshore and estuarine waters (Mercer 1984; Johnson and Seaman 1986). They are multiple spawners, as evidenced by the presence of vitellogenic and fully yolked eggs in ovaries throughout the spawning season (Brown-Peterson et al. 1988). The average time between successive spawns was reported by Brown-Peterson et al. (1988) as 3.6 days, though data from an experimental aquaculture population yielded a period between spawns of 21 days (Tucker and Faulkner 1987). This indicates that a female may spawn 9 - 60 times in a spawning season, and release 3 - 20 million eggs annually (Murphy et al. 1999). Spawning occurs at somewhat different times depending on location. In Florida, spotted seatrout in the Ft. Myers area spawn from late March through September, with a peak in June (Moody 1950, Moffett 1961). In the Indian River Lagoon, spawning occurs from mid-April through July, peaking from April - June (Tabb 1961), though some data indicates year-round spawning within the IRL (Murphy and Taylor, FMRI, unpubl in Murphy et al. 1999). In the Everglades, evidence indicates year-round spawning that peaks both in spring and from late summer to early fall. (Jannke 1971; Rutherford et al. 1982). Time of spawning is controlled by temperature and salinity, with spotted seatrout in most areas spawning in waters where temperatures are 25 - 28ºC, and salinity is 30 - 35 ppt (Johnson and Seaman 1986).Fecundity increases with size in Cynoscion nebulosus. In Florida, Moody (1957) reported a 39.7 cm (15.6 inches) female collected at Cedar Key contained 464,000 eggs. Tabb (1961) reported 15,000 - 1.1 million eggs per female from a collection of females, aged at 4 - 8 years, and ranging in size from 32.5 - 62.5 cm (12.8 - 24.6 inches) standard length (SL). In a Louisiana study, Sundararaj and Suttkus (1962) reported that Age III females contribute approximately 41% of all eggs spawned, and thus have the greatest reproductive potential of all age classes. Age IV females contributed 27% of the eggs spawned, while Age II females contributed 24%. In an Everglades study, Rutherford et al. (1982) found that most male spawners were Ages II, III, and IV.
  • Chao, L.N., 1978 Sciaenidae. In W. Fischer (ed.) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. West Atlantic (Fishing Area 31). Volume 4. FAO, Rome.
  • Adams, C.A., M.J. Oesterling, S.C. Snedaker, and W. Seaman. 1973. Quantitative dietary analysis for selected dominant fishes of the Ten Thousand Islands, Florida. Univ. Fla. Report to the U.S. Fish and Wildl. Serv., Bur. of Sport Fish. 55 pp.
  • Arnold, C.R., T.O. Williams, W.A. Fable, J.L. Lasswell, and W.H. Bailey. 1978. Methods and techniques for spawning and rearing spotted seatrout in the laboratory. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast Assoc. Game Fish. Comm. 30:167-178.
  • Bortone, S.A., (Ed). 2003. Biology of the spotted seatrout. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla.
  • Brown-Peterson, N. J., M. S. Peterson , D.L. Nieland, M.D. Murphy, R.G. Taylor and J.R.Warren. 2002. Reproductive biology of female spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in the Gulf of Mexico: differences among estuaries? Environmental Biology of Fishes 63: 405-415.
  • Brown-Peterson, N., P. Thomas and C.R. Arnold. 1988. Reproductive biology of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in south Texas. Fish. Bull. 86(2):373-388.
  • Carr, W.E.S. and C.A. Adams. 1973. Food habits of juvenile marine fishes occupying seagrass beds in the estuarine zone near Crystal River, Florida. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 102:511-540.
  • Colura, R.L., T.T. Hysmith, and R.E. Stevens. 1976. Fingerling production of striped bass (Morone saxatilis), spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus), and red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), in saltwater ponds. Pages 79-97 in Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Meeting of the World Mariculture Society, San Diego, Calif.
  • Darnell, R. 1958. Food habits of-fishes and large invertebrates of Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, an estuarine community. Publ. Inst. Mar. Sci. Univ. Tex. 5:353-416.
  • Davis, G. E. 1980. Changes in the Everglades National Park red drum and spotted seatrout fisheries 1958-1978: fishing pressure, environmental stress, or natural cycles? Proc. Colloq. Bio. and Manage. of Red Drum and Spotted Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:81-87.
  • Fable, W.A., Jr., T.D. Williams, and C. R. Arnold. 1978. Description of reared eggs and young larvae of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. U.S. Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv. Bull. 76:65-71.
  • Guest, W.C., and G. Gunter. 1958. The seatrout or weakfishes (genus Cynoscion) of the Gulf of Mexico: Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Tech. Summ.l:l-40.
  • Higman, J.B. 1967. Relationships between catch rates of sport fish and environmental conditions in Everglades National Park, Florida. Proc. Gulf Caribb Fish. Inst. 1966:129-140.
  • Holt, G.J. and S.A. Holt. 2002. Effects of variable salinity on reproduction and early life stages of spotted seatrout. In: Biology of the Spotted Seatrout. P.L. Lutz (ed.), CRC Press.
  • Holt, G.J., S.A. Holt, and C.R. Arnold. 1985. Diel periodicity of spawning in sciaenids. Marine Ecology Progressive Series 27:1-7.
  • Houde, E.D. and C.E. Zastrow, 1993 Ecosystem- and taxon-specific dynamic and energetics properties of fish larvae assemblages. Bull. Mar. Sci. 53(2):290-335.
  • International Game Fish Association, 1991 World record game fishes. International Game Fish Association, Florida, USA.
  • Jannke, T. E. 1971. Abundance of young sciaenid fishes in Everglades National Park, Florida, in relation to season and other variables. Univ. Miami Sea Grant Program, Sea Grant Tech. Bull. 11:1-128.
  • Johnson, G.D., 1978. Development of fishes of the Mid-Atlantic Bight. An atlas of egg, larval and juvenile stages. Vol. 4. Carangidae through Ephippidae. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Biol. Serv. Prog. FWS/OBS-78/12.
  • Johnson, D.R., and W. Seaman, Jr. 1986. Species profiles: life histories and environmental requirements of coastal fishes and invertebrates (south Florida)--spotted seatrout. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Biol. Rep. 82(11.43). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, TR EL-82-4. 18 PP.
  • Klima, E.F. and D.C. Tabb, 1959 A contribution to the biology of the spotted weakfish, Cynoscion nebulosus (Cuvier), from Northwest Florida, with a description of the fishes. Florida Board Conserv. Tech. Bull. (30):25 p.
  • Kucera, C.J., C.K. Faulk and G.J. Holt. 2002. The effect of spawning salinity on eggs of spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus, Cuvier) from two bays and historically different salinity regimes. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 272:147-158.
  • Llanso, R. J., S. S. Bell, and F. E. Vose. 1998. Food habits of red drum and spotted seatrout in a restored mangrove impoundment. Estuaries 21(2): 294-308.
  • Lorio, W. J., and W. S. Perret. 1980. Biology and ecology of the spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus Cuvier). Proc. Colloq. Bio.Manage. of the Red Drum and Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:7-13.
  • Maceina, M.J., D.N. Hata, T.L. Linton and A.M. Landry, Jr., 1987 Age and growth analysis of spotted seatrout from Galveston Bay, Texas. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 116:54-59.
  • McMichael, R.H., Jr. and K.M. Peters. 1989. Early life history of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus (Pisces: Sciaenidae), in Tampa Bay, Florida. Estuaries 12:98-110.
  • Mercer, L.P. 1984. A biological fisheries profile for spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. N.C. Dept. Nat. Res. and Community Development Spec. Sci. Rep. 40:1-87.
  • Moffett, A., 1961 Movements and growth of spotted sea trouts, Cynoscion nebulosus, Cuvier, in West Florida. Fla. St. Bd. Cons. Tech. Ser. (36):1-35.
  • Mok, H.-K. and R.G. Gilmore. 1983. Analysis of sound production of estuarine aggregations of Pogonias cromis, Bairdiella chrysoura, and Cynoscion nebulosus (Sciaenidae). Bull. Inst. Zool. Academia Sinica 22:157-186.
  • Muller, R.G., M.D. Murphy, and G. McRae. 1997. An update of the stock assessment for spotted seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus. Report to the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission, Tallahassee, Florida.
  • Muller, R.G. 1993. Update of spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) fisheries in Florida waters with discussion of the impacts of management regulations. Report to the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission, Tallahassee, Florida.
  • Murphy, M.D., G.A. Nelson, and R.G. Muller. 1999. An update of the stock assessment of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Marine Research Institute St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • Murphy, M.D. and R.G. Taylor. 1994. Age, growth, and mortality of spotted seatrout in Florida waters. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 123:482-497.
  • Moody, W. D. 1950. A study of the natural history of the spotted trout,Cynoscion nebulosus, in the Cedar Key, Florida, area. Q. J. Fla. Acad. Sci. 12(3):147-171.
  • Nieland, D.L., R.G. Thomas and C.A. Wilson, 2002 Age, growth, and reproduction of spotted seatrout in Barataria Bay, Louisiana. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 131(2):245-259.
  • Odum, W.E. 1971. Pathways and energy flow in a South Florida estuary. Sea Grant Technical Bulletin 7: 62pp.
  • Overstreet, R., 1983 Aspects of the biology of the spotted sea trout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in Mississippi. Gulf. Res. Rep. Supp. 1:1-43.
  • Pearson, J. C. 1929. Natural history and conservation of the redfish and other commercial sciaenids on the Texas Coast. Bull. U. S. Bur. Fish 4:129- 214.
  • Peebles, E.B. and S.G. Tolley, 1988 Distribution, growth and mortality of larval spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus: a comparison between two adjacent estuarine areas of southwest Florida. Bull. Mar. Sci. 42:397-410.
  • Powell, J.B., E.H. Laban, S.A. Holt and G.J. Holt. 2000. Validation of age estimates from otoliths of larval and juvenile spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Fishery Bulletin 98(3):650-654.
  • Ramsey, P.R. and J.M. Wakeman. 1987. Population structure of Sciaenops ocellatus and Cynoscion nebulosus (Pisces: Sciaenidae): biochemical variation, genetic subdivision and dispersal. Copeia 1987:682-695.
  • Rooker, J.R., S.A. Holt, M.A. Soto, G.J. Holt. 1998. Postsettlement patterns of habitat use by sciaenid fishes in subtropical seagrass meadows. Estuaries 21(2):318-327.
  • Rutherford, E., E. Thue, and D. Buker. 1982. Population characteristics, food habits, and spawning activity of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in Everglades National Park, Florida. South Fla. Res. Cent. Rep. T-668. 48 pp.
  • Saucier, M. H. and D. M. Baltz. 1993. Spawning site selection by spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) and black drum (Pogonias cromis) in Louisiana. Environmental Biology of Fishes 36:257-272.
  • Sundararaj, B. I., and R. D. Suttkus.1962. Fecundity of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus (Cuvier), from Lake Borqne area, Louisiana. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 91:84-88.
  • Tabb, D. 1961 A contribution to the biology of the spotted sea trout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in East Central Florida. Fla. St. Bd. Cons. Tech. Ser. (35):1-23.
  • Tabb, D. C. 1966. The estuary as a habitat for spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus). Am. Fish. Soc. Spec. Publ. No. 3:59-67.
  • Tabb, D. C., D. L. Dubrow, and R. B. Manning. 1962. The ecology of north Florida Bay and adjacent estuaries. Fla. Board Conserv. Tech. Ser. 39:1-81.
  • Taniguchi, A. K. 1980. Effects of the salinity, temperature, and food abundance upon survival of spotted seatrout eggs and larvae. Proc. Colloq. on the Biol. and Mgmnt.of Red Drum and Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:16 (Abstr.).
  • Tucker, J.W. Jr. and B.E. Faulkner, 1987. Voluntary spawning patterns of captive spotted seatrout. NE Gulf. Sci. 9:59-63.
  • Yáñes-Arancibia, A., A.L. Lara-Domínguez and J.W. Day Jr., 1993 Interactions between mangrove and seagrass habitats mediated by estuarine nekton assemblages: coupling of primary and secondary production. Hydrobiologia 264:1-12.
  • Welsh, W. W., and C. M. Breder, Jr. 1924. Contributions to the life histories of Sciaenidae of the eastern United States coast. Bull. U. S. Bur. Fish. 39:141-201.
  • Wohlschlag, D. E., and J. M. Wakeman. 1978. Salinity stresses, metabolic responses and distribution of the coastal spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Contrib. Mar. Sci. Univ. Tex. 21:171-185.
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Growth

Eggs are spherical, generally with a single oil droplet. Sometimes, however, more than one droplet is observed (Tabb 1966). Eggs can be both demersal and pelagic, depending on salinity conditions (Perret et al. 1980). When salinity is high, eggs are buoyant. When salinity drops below 25 parts per thousand (ppt), eggs tend to sink. Optimum survival salinity for eggs and larvae is approximately 28 ppt (Taniguchi 1980). Larvae hatch approximately 18 hours after fertilization and measure 1.3 - 1.6 mm (0.05 - 0.06 inches) SL under laboratory conditions (Fable et al. 1978). At 10 - 15 mm (0.4 - 0.6 inches) in length, larvae are most commonly found in shallow seagrass beds in bays and lagoons. At water temperatures averaging 28 ºC (82.4 ºF), larvae persist for 20 days before metamorphosis. Juveniles 6-8 weeks of age measure 2.5 - 5.0 cm (1.0 - 2.0 inches) in length and begin to form schools consisting of similarly sized individuals. Schooling behavior remains strong until approximately Age VI - VII, when both males and females become semi-solitary (Tabb 1966). In laboratory studies, spotted seatrout larvae held at 24-26ºC (75.2 - 78.8 ºF) grew from 1.5 mm (0.05 inches) at hatching to 4.5 mm (0.18 inches) SL in 15days (Fable et al. 1980).
  • Chao, L.N., 1978 Sciaenidae. In W. Fischer (ed.) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. West Atlantic (Fishing Area 31). Volume 4. FAO, Rome.
  • Adams, C.A., M.J. Oesterling, S.C. Snedaker, and W. Seaman. 1973. Quantitative dietary analysis for selected dominant fishes of the Ten Thousand Islands, Florida. Univ. Fla. Report to the U.S. Fish and Wildl. Serv., Bur. of Sport Fish. 55 pp.
  • Arnold, C.R., T.O. Williams, W.A. Fable, J.L. Lasswell, and W.H. Bailey. 1978. Methods and techniques for spawning and rearing spotted seatrout in the laboratory. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast Assoc. Game Fish. Comm. 30:167-178.
  • Bortone, S.A., (Ed). 2003. Biology of the spotted seatrout. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla.
  • Brown-Peterson, N. J., M. S. Peterson , D.L. Nieland, M.D. Murphy, R.G. Taylor and J.R.Warren. 2002. Reproductive biology of female spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in the Gulf of Mexico: differences among estuaries? Environmental Biology of Fishes 63: 405-415.
  • Brown-Peterson, N., P. Thomas and C.R. Arnold. 1988. Reproductive biology of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in south Texas. Fish. Bull. 86(2):373-388.
  • Carr, W.E.S. and C.A. Adams. 1973. Food habits of juvenile marine fishes occupying seagrass beds in the estuarine zone near Crystal River, Florida. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 102:511-540.
  • Colura, R.L., T.T. Hysmith, and R.E. Stevens. 1976. Fingerling production of striped bass (Morone saxatilis), spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus), and red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), in saltwater ponds. Pages 79-97 in Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Meeting of the World Mariculture Society, San Diego, Calif.
  • Darnell, R. 1958. Food habits of-fishes and large invertebrates of Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, an estuarine community. Publ. Inst. Mar. Sci. Univ. Tex. 5:353-416.
  • Davis, G. E. 1980. Changes in the Everglades National Park red drum and spotted seatrout fisheries 1958-1978: fishing pressure, environmental stress, or natural cycles? Proc. Colloq. Bio. and Manage. of Red Drum and Spotted Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:81-87.
  • Fable, W.A., Jr., T.D. Williams, and C. R. Arnold. 1978. Description of reared eggs and young larvae of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. U.S. Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv. Bull. 76:65-71.
  • Guest, W.C., and G. Gunter. 1958. The seatrout or weakfishes (genus Cynoscion) of the Gulf of Mexico: Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Tech. Summ.l:l-40.
  • Higman, J.B. 1967. Relationships between catch rates of sport fish and environmental conditions in Everglades National Park, Florida. Proc. Gulf Caribb Fish. Inst. 1966:129-140.
  • Holt, G.J. and S.A. Holt. 2002. Effects of variable salinity on reproduction and early life stages of spotted seatrout. In: Biology of the Spotted Seatrout. P.L. Lutz (ed.), CRC Press.
  • Holt, G.J., S.A. Holt, and C.R. Arnold. 1985. Diel periodicity of spawning in sciaenids. Marine Ecology Progressive Series 27:1-7.
  • Houde, E.D. and C.E. Zastrow, 1993 Ecosystem- and taxon-specific dynamic and energetics properties of fish larvae assemblages. Bull. Mar. Sci. 53(2):290-335.
  • International Game Fish Association, 1991 World record game fishes. International Game Fish Association, Florida, USA.
  • Jannke, T. E. 1971. Abundance of young sciaenid fishes in Everglades National Park, Florida, in relation to season and other variables. Univ. Miami Sea Grant Program, Sea Grant Tech. Bull. 11:1-128.
  • Johnson, G.D., 1978. Development of fishes of the Mid-Atlantic Bight. An atlas of egg, larval and juvenile stages. Vol. 4. Carangidae through Ephippidae. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Biol. Serv. Prog. FWS/OBS-78/12.
  • Johnson, D.R., and W. Seaman, Jr. 1986. Species profiles: life histories and environmental requirements of coastal fishes and invertebrates (south Florida)--spotted seatrout. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Biol. Rep. 82(11.43). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, TR EL-82-4. 18 PP.
  • Klima, E.F. and D.C. Tabb, 1959 A contribution to the biology of the spotted weakfish, Cynoscion nebulosus (Cuvier), from Northwest Florida, with a description of the fishes. Florida Board Conserv. Tech. Bull. (30):25 p.
  • Kucera, C.J., C.K. Faulk and G.J. Holt. 2002. The effect of spawning salinity on eggs of spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus, Cuvier) from two bays and historically different salinity regimes. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 272:147-158.
  • Llanso, R. J., S. S. Bell, and F. E. Vose. 1998. Food habits of red drum and spotted seatrout in a restored mangrove impoundment. Estuaries 21(2): 294-308.
  • Lorio, W. J., and W. S. Perret. 1980. Biology and ecology of the spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus Cuvier). Proc. Colloq. Bio.Manage. of the Red Drum and Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:7-13.
  • Maceina, M.J., D.N. Hata, T.L. Linton and A.M. Landry, Jr., 1987 Age and growth analysis of spotted seatrout from Galveston Bay, Texas. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 116:54-59.
  • McMichael, R.H., Jr. and K.M. Peters. 1989. Early life history of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus (Pisces: Sciaenidae), in Tampa Bay, Florida. Estuaries 12:98-110.
  • Mercer, L.P. 1984. A biological fisheries profile for spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. N.C. Dept. Nat. Res. and Community Development Spec. Sci. Rep. 40:1-87.
  • Moffett, A., 1961 Movements and growth of spotted sea trouts, Cynoscion nebulosus, Cuvier, in West Florida. Fla. St. Bd. Cons. Tech. Ser. (36):1-35.
  • Mok, H.-K. and R.G. Gilmore. 1983. Analysis of sound production of estuarine aggregations of Pogonias cromis, Bairdiella chrysoura, and Cynoscion nebulosus (Sciaenidae). Bull. Inst. Zool. Academia Sinica 22:157-186.
  • Muller, R.G., M.D. Murphy, and G. McRae. 1997. An update of the stock assessment for spotted seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus. Report to the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission, Tallahassee, Florida.
  • Muller, R.G. 1993. Update of spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) fisheries in Florida waters with discussion of the impacts of management regulations. Report to the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission, Tallahassee, Florida.
  • Murphy, M.D., G.A. Nelson, and R.G. Muller. 1999. An update of the stock assessment of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Marine Research Institute St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • Murphy, M.D. and R.G. Taylor. 1994. Age, growth, and mortality of spotted seatrout in Florida waters. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 123:482-497.
  • Moody, W. D. 1950. A study of the natural history of the spotted trout,Cynoscion nebulosus, in the Cedar Key, Florida, area. Q. J. Fla. Acad. Sci. 12(3):147-171.
  • Nieland, D.L., R.G. Thomas and C.A. Wilson, 2002 Age, growth, and reproduction of spotted seatrout in Barataria Bay, Louisiana. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 131(2):245-259.
  • Odum, W.E. 1971. Pathways and energy flow in a South Florida estuary. Sea Grant Technical Bulletin 7: 62pp.
  • Overstreet, R., 1983 Aspects of the biology of the spotted sea trout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in Mississippi. Gulf. Res. Rep. Supp. 1:1-43.
  • Pearson, J. C. 1929. Natural history and conservation of the redfish and other commercial sciaenids on the Texas Coast. Bull. U. S. Bur. Fish 4:129- 214.
  • Peebles, E.B. and S.G. Tolley, 1988 Distribution, growth and mortality of larval spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus: a comparison between two adjacent estuarine areas of southwest Florida. Bull. Mar. Sci. 42:397-410.
  • Powell, J.B., E.H. Laban, S.A. Holt and G.J. Holt. 2000. Validation of age estimates from otoliths of larval and juvenile spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Fishery Bulletin 98(3):650-654.
  • Ramsey, P.R. and J.M. Wakeman. 1987. Population structure of Sciaenops ocellatus and Cynoscion nebulosus (Pisces: Sciaenidae): biochemical variation, genetic subdivision and dispersal. Copeia 1987:682-695.
  • Rooker, J.R., S.A. Holt, M.A. Soto, G.J. Holt. 1998. Postsettlement patterns of habitat use by sciaenid fishes in subtropical seagrass meadows. Estuaries 21(2):318-327.
  • Rutherford, E., E. Thue, and D. Buker. 1982. Population characteristics, food habits, and spawning activity of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in Everglades National Park, Florida. South Fla. Res. Cent. Rep. T-668. 48 pp.
  • Saucier, M. H. and D. M. Baltz. 1993. Spawning site selection by spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) and black drum (Pogonias cromis) in Louisiana. Environmental Biology of Fishes 36:257-272.
  • Sundararaj, B. I., and R. D. Suttkus.1962. Fecundity of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus (Cuvier), from Lake Borqne area, Louisiana. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 91:84-88.
  • Tabb, D. 1961 A contribution to the biology of the spotted sea trout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in East Central Florida. Fla. St. Bd. Cons. Tech. Ser. (35):1-23.
  • Tabb, D. C. 1966. The estuary as a habitat for spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus). Am. Fish. Soc. Spec. Publ. No. 3:59-67.
  • Tabb, D. C., D. L. Dubrow, and R. B. Manning. 1962. The ecology of north Florida Bay and adjacent estuaries. Fla. Board Conserv. Tech. Ser. 39:1-81.
  • Taniguchi, A. K. 1980. Effects of the salinity, temperature, and food abundance upon survival of spotted seatrout eggs and larvae. Proc. Colloq. on the Biol. and Mgmnt.of Red Drum and Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:16 (Abstr.).
  • Tucker, J.W. Jr. and B.E. Faulkner, 1987. Voluntary spawning patterns of captive spotted seatrout. NE Gulf. Sci. 9:59-63.
  • Yáñes-Arancibia, A., A.L. Lara-Domínguez and J.W. Day Jr., 1993 Interactions between mangrove and seagrass habitats mediated by estuarine nekton assemblages: coupling of primary and secondary production. Hydrobiologia 264:1-12.
  • Welsh, W. W., and C. M. Breder, Jr. 1924. Contributions to the life histories of Sciaenidae of the eastern United States coast. Bull. U. S. Bur. Fish. 39:141-201.
  • Wohlschlag, D. E., and J. M. Wakeman. 1978. Salinity stresses, metabolic responses and distribution of the coastal spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Contrib. Mar. Sci. Univ. Tex. 21:171-185.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Cynoscion nebulosus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 24
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Cynoscion nebulosus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 2 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

CTCTACCTAATCTTTGGTGCATGAGCCGGAATAGTAGGCACAGCTTTA---AGCCTTCTGATCCGAGCAGAACTAAGCCAACCAGGCGCACTCCTTGGAGAT---GACCAAATCTATAACGTAATTGTTACAGCACATGCCTTCGTTATAATTTTCTTTATAGTAATACCYATCATGATTGGAGGGTTCGGAAACTGACTTATTCCACTAATG---ATCGGGGCCCCTGACATAGCATTCCCCCGCATGAACAATATGAGCTTCTGACTCCTTCCCCCTTCCTTCCTCCTACTCCTAACCTCTTCAGGRGTAGAGGCAGGGGCCGGGACAGGGTGAACAGTTTACCCYCCACTCGCAGGCAACCTTGCACACGCAGGAGCTTCTGTTGACCTA---GCCATCTTCTCCCTCCACCTCGCAGGTGTCTCATCAATTTTAGGGGCTATTAACTTTATTACAACAATTATTAATATAAAACCCCCTGCTATTTCCCAATATCAGACACCCCTCTTTGTATGAGCCGTTCTAATTACAGCCGTTCTCCTGCTTCTCTCACTCCCCGTATTAGCTGCC---GGCATTACAATGCTTCTAACAGACCGCAATTTAAATACAACTTTCTTCGACCCGGCAGGAGGAGGGGATCCTATTCTTTACCAACATCTC
-- end --

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Threats

Not Evaluated
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Uses

Comments: An important food and sport fish (Robins and Ray 1991).

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Importance

fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes
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Commercial, recreational fishery species.Fisheries Importance:Cynoscion nebulosus is a major commercial and game species throughout is range, but is especially important recreationally in Florida. Between 1987 - 2001, the commercial harvest of Cynoscion nebulosus in Florida totaled 10.3 million pounds, and was valued at $12.3 million. Approximately 74% of landings occurred on Florida's west coast, which accounted for 7.6 million pounds, with a dollar value of 8.6 million. East coast commercial landings accounted for approximately 2.6 million pounds,which had a commercial vale of $3.6 million. The 5 county area encompassing the IRL (Volusia, Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin Counties) accounted for 2.2 million pound of the commercial harvest, which had a value of $2.8 million. This ranks the spotted seatrout twentieth in commercial value to IRL counties, and twenty-fifth in pounds harvested. Figure 1 below shows the dollar value of the spotted seatrout commercial fishery to IRL counties by year. The fishery ranged in value from a high of $329,756 in 1989, to a low of $44,961 in 2001. Indian River County accounted for 31.5% of the catch, followed by Volusia (28.9%), Brevard (27.7%), St. Lucie (15.7%) and Martin (1.2%) Counties. Of note is the dramatic decrease in commercial catch after 1995, which coincides with the enactment of Florida's ban on gillnetting, and the subsequent switch to other gear types. Prior to 1995 most commercial landings of spotted seatrout were accomplished with gill nets. However, after the net ban, approximately 87% of the commercial catch between 1996-1998 was accomplished with hook and line gear, while 7% was accomplished with cast nets (Murphy et al. 1999). Recreational Fishery: Within the 5-county area of the Indian River Lagoon, spotted seatrout are highly prized gamefishes. Recreational anglers captured 1.5 million spotted seatrout between 1997 - 2004 (Table 4, Figure 3), not counting those fishes that were caught and released. The bulk of the recreational catch (52.5%) was taken within the Indian River Lagoon. Approximately 42.5% of the recreational catch is harvested from other inland waters. Anglers fishing to 3 miles offshore accounted for 4.8% of the harvest, while those fishing up to 200 miles offshore accounted for only 0.2% of the total. Statewide, recreational anglers harvest more spotted seatrout than do commercial enterprises. Prior to 1996, recreational landings in Florida accounted for approximately 78% of statewide harvest (Murphy et al. 1999). This figure increased to 96% from 1996 - 1998 following the commercial gillnet ban. In the Atlantic coast region from Volusia county south, recreational anglers benefited greatly from the commercial gillnet ban. Prior to 1995, recreational anglers captured approximately 55 % of the total catch in central to southern Florida. Following the net ban, this figure rose to 84%, with commercial interests accounting for only 16% of the total. Fishing regulations in Florida state that spotted seatrout must be at least 15 inches total length (TL), but not more than 20 inches TL to be of legal size; however, one seatrout larger than 20 inches TL may be kept per person per day. Seatrout season is closed from December 15 - January 31, and during the spawning season from June - August on the Atlantic coast, and from May-August on the Gulf coast. A bag limit of 4 legal-sized seatrout per person per day is in effect.
  • Chao, L.N., 1978 Sciaenidae. In W. Fischer (ed.) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. West Atlantic (Fishing Area 31). Volume 4. FAO, Rome.
  • Adams, C.A., M.J. Oesterling, S.C. Snedaker, and W. Seaman. 1973. Quantitative dietary analysis for selected dominant fishes of the Ten Thousand Islands, Florida. Univ. Fla. Report to the U.S. Fish and Wildl. Serv., Bur. of Sport Fish. 55 pp.
  • Arnold, C.R., T.O. Williams, W.A. Fable, J.L. Lasswell, and W.H. Bailey. 1978. Methods and techniques for spawning and rearing spotted seatrout in the laboratory. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast Assoc. Game Fish. Comm. 30:167-178.
  • Bortone, S.A., (Ed). 2003. Biology of the spotted seatrout. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla.
  • Brown-Peterson, N. J., M. S. Peterson , D.L. Nieland, M.D. Murphy, R.G. Taylor and J.R.Warren. 2002. Reproductive biology of female spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in the Gulf of Mexico: differences among estuaries? Environmental Biology of Fishes 63: 405-415.
  • Brown-Peterson, N., P. Thomas and C.R. Arnold. 1988. Reproductive biology of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, in south Texas. Fish. Bull. 86(2):373-388.
  • Carr, W.E.S. and C.A. Adams. 1973. Food habits of juvenile marine fishes occupying seagrass beds in the estuarine zone near Crystal River, Florida. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 102:511-540.
  • Colura, R.L., T.T. Hysmith, and R.E. Stevens. 1976. Fingerling production of striped bass (Morone saxatilis), spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus), and red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), in saltwater ponds. Pages 79-97 in Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Meeting of the World Mariculture Society, San Diego, Calif.
  • Darnell, R. 1958. Food habits of-fishes and large invertebrates of Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, an estuarine community. Publ. Inst. Mar. Sci. Univ. Tex. 5:353-416.
  • Davis, G. E. 1980. Changes in the Everglades National Park red drum and spotted seatrout fisheries 1958-1978: fishing pressure, environmental stress, or natural cycles? Proc. Colloq. Bio. and Manage. of Red Drum and Spotted Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:81-87.
  • Fable, W.A., Jr., T.D. Williams, and C. R. Arnold. 1978. Description of reared eggs and young larvae of the spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. U.S. Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv. Bull. 76:65-71.
  • Guest, W.C., and G. Gunter. 1958. The seatrout or weakfishes (genus Cynoscion) of the Gulf of Mexico: Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Tech. Summ.l:l-40.
  • Higman, J.B. 1967. Relationships between catch rates of sport fish and environmental conditions in Everglades National Park, Florida. Proc. Gulf Caribb Fish. Inst. 1966:129-140.
  • Holt, G.J. and S.A. Holt. 2002. Effects of variable salinity on reproduction and early life stages of spotted seatrout. In: Biology of the Spotted Seatrout. P.L. Lutz (ed.), CRC Press.
  • Holt, G.J., S.A. Holt, and C.R. Arnold. 1985. Diel periodicity of spawning in sciaenids. Marine Ecology Progressive Series 27:1-7.
  • Houde, E.D. and C.E. Zastrow, 1993 Ecosystem- and taxon-specific dynamic and energetics properties of fish larvae assemblages. Bull. Mar. Sci. 53(2):290-335.
  • International Game Fish Association, 1991 World record game fishes. International Game Fish Association, Florida, USA.
  • Jannke, T. E. 1971. Abundance of young sciaenid fishes in Everglades National Park, Florida, in relation to season and other variables. Univ. Miami Sea Grant Program, Sea Grant Tech. Bull. 11:1-128.
  • Johnson, G.D., 1978. Development of fishes of the Mid-Atlantic Bight. An atlas of egg, larval and juvenile stages. Vol. 4. Carangidae through Ephippidae. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Biol. Serv. Prog. FWS/OBS-78/12.
  • Johnson, D.R., and W. Seaman, Jr. 1986. Species profiles: life histories and environmental requirements of coastal fishes and invertebrates (south Florida)--spotted seatrout. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Biol. Rep. 82(11.43). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, TR EL-82-4. 18 PP.
  • Klima, E.F. and D.C. Tabb, 1959 A contribution to the biology of the spotted weakfish, Cynoscion nebulosus (Cuvier), from Northwest Florida, with a description of the fishes. Florida Board Conserv. Tech. Bull. (30):25 p.
  • Kucera, C.J., C.K. Faulk and G.J. Holt. 2002. The effect of spawning salinity on eggs of spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus, Cuvier) from two bays and historically different salinity regimes. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 272:147-158.
  • Llanso, R. J., S. S. Bell, and F. E. Vose. 1998. Food habits of red drum and spotted seatrout in a restored mangrove impoundment. Estuaries 21(2): 294-308.
  • Lorio, W. J., and W. S. Perret. 1980. Biology and ecology of the spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus Cuvier). Proc. Colloq. Bio.Manage. of the Red Drum and Seatrout. Gulf States Mar. Fish. Comm. Rep. 5:7-13.
  • Maceina, M.J., D.N. Hata, T.L. Linton and A.M. Landry, Jr., 1987 Age and growth analysis of spotted seatrout from Galveston Bay, Texas. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 116:54-59.
  • McMichael, R.H., Jr. and K.M. Peters. 1989. Early life history of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus (Pisces: Sciaenidae), in Tampa Bay, Florida. Estuaries 12:98-110.
  • Mercer, L.P. 1984. A biological fisheries profile for spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. N.C. Dept. Nat. Res. and Community Development Spec. Sci. Rep. 40:1-87.
  • Moffett, A., 1961 Movements and growth of spotted sea trouts, Cynoscion nebulosus, Cuvier, in West Florida. Fla. St. Bd. Cons. Tech. Ser. (36):1-35.
  • Mok, H.-K. and R.G. Gilmore. 1983. Analysis of sound production of estuarine aggregations of Pogonias cromis, Bairdiella chrysoura, and Cynoscion nebulosus (Sciaenidae). Bull. Inst. Zool. Academia Sinica 22:157-186.
  • Muller, R.G., M.D. Murphy, and G. McRae. 1997. An update of the stock assessment for spotted seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus. Report to the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission, Tallahassee, Florida.
  • Muller, R.G. 1993. Update of spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) fisheries in Florida waters with discussion of the impacts of management regulations. Report to the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission, Tallahassee, Florida.
  • Murphy, M.D., G.A. Nelson, and R.G. Muller. 1999. An update of the stock assessment of spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Marine Research Institute St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • Murphy, M.D. and R.G. Taylor. 1994. Age, growth, and mortality of spotted seatrout in Florida waters. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 123:482-497.
  • Moody, W. D. 1950. A study of the natural history of the spotted trout,Cynoscion nebulosus, in the Cedar Key, Florida, area. Q. J. Fla. Acad. Sci. 12(3):147-171.
  • Nieland, D.L., R.G. Thomas and C.A. Wilson, 2002 Age, growth, and reproduction of spotted seatrout in Barataria Bay, Louisiana. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 131(2):245-259.
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  • Saucier, M. H. and D. M. Baltz. 1993. Spawning site selection by spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) and black drum (Pogonias cromis) in Louisiana. Environmental Biology of Fishes 36:257-272.
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Wikipedia

Cynoscion nebulosus

The spotted seatrout, also known as speckled trout (Cynoscion nebulosus), is a common estuarine fish found in the southern United States along coasts of Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Ocean. While most of these fish are caught on shallow, grassy flats, spotted seatrout reside in virtually any inshore waters, from the surf of outside islands to far up coastal rivers, where they often come for shelter during cold weather. Contrary to its name, the spotted seatrout is not a member of the trout family (Salmonidae), but of the drum family (Sciaenidae). It is popular for commercial and especially recreational fishing in coastal waters of the southeastern United States. Adults reach 19-25 inches in length and 3-17 pounds in weight.

Distribution[edit]

Spotted seatrout live in the top of the water column and are most numerous along the coasts of the southeastern states, such as Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida. They are also common along the coasts of North and South Carolina and Virginia. Estuarine coasts are prime settlement areas. They are uncommonly seen north of Delaware Bay and along the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Characteristics[edit]

Spotted seatrout is the common name endorsed by the American Fisheries Society. However, this fish has many other common names, including speckled trout, speck, speckles, spec, truite gris (Louisiana French), trucha de mar (Mexican Spanish), spotted weakfish, spotted seateague, southern seateague, salmon, salmon trout, simon trout, winter trout, seatrout, Nosferatu fish, and black trout. Particularly large ones are nicknamed gator trout.[1]

The spotted seatrout has prominent canine teeth. Like other fish of the family Sciaenidae, it has an elongated, soft dorsal fin with no scales; it is separated from the spinous dorsal fin by a deep notch. It usually has two anal spines and the lateral line extends to the tip of the caudal fin. The back has distinct spots scattered on it, including on the dorsal and caudal fins. Unlike some other members of the family Sciaenidae, the spotted seatrout does not have any chin barbels. In stained water, this fish's background may take on a golden hue. Its shape and coloration is reminiscent of a brown trout. This fish is closely related to the weakfish, Cynoscion regalis.

The average size of spotted seatrout is 0.5-1.0 kg (1-2 lb), but in most areas fish up to 2.5 kg (5 lb) are fairly common. Fish weighing 3.5-4.5 kg (8-10 lb) are rare. The world record is 7.9 kg (17 lb 7 oz).

Food[edit]

Small trout eat large amounts of shrimp and other crustaceans. As they grow larger, their diets shift toward fish, the larger, the better. Studies in Texas and Mississippi show that really big trout strongly prefer to feed on mullet; a large trout will find the largest mullet it can handle and try to swallow it. Often the mullet is half or two-thirds as large as the trout.[2]

Reproduction and growth[edit]

Like all members of the drum family, mature males make a "drumming" sound to attract females during the spawning season. Spotted seatrout have a long spawning season from spring through summer.

Larval seatrout reach 5-7 mm in length about two weeks after hatching, and 170-200 mm within about seven months. It takes between one and two years for seatrout to reach 300 mm (about 12 inches) and between two and three years to reach 400 mm in length (about 16 inches). The maximum age of spotted seatrout that have been caught is estimated to be 12 years old, though that is rare, and the oldest fish caught on a regular basis are closer to four or five years old.[3]

By the end of the first year, spotted seatrout are about 250 mm long and about half of them are mature enough to reproduce. [4][5] They reproduce in shallow, grassy areas of estuaries.

As spotted seatrout grow longer, they increase in weight. The relationship between weight and length is not linear. The relationship between total length (in millimeters) and weight (in grams) can be expressed by an equation of the form:

W = cL^b\!\,

Spotted seatrout weight vs. length[6]

Invariably, b is close to 3.0 for all species, and c is a constant that varies among species.[7] The coefficient c and the exponent b are found by fitting an equation of this form to measured weight-length data. For some fish, including spotted seatrout, the weight-length relationships vary with the seasons and with gender.[8] Jenkins[9] reported slightly different relationships for male and female spotted seatrout, and for fall and spring:

Fall/male: W = 0.00000534L3.093

Spring/male: W = 0.000011535L2.989

Fall/female: W = 0.000006252L3.066

Spring/female: W = 0.000007834L3.035

Only the relationship for male spotted seatrout in the spring appears noticeably different from the others on a graph.

Fishing[edit]

These spotted seatrout are attracted to the light of a glow stick.

While spotted seatrout are caught by both commercial and recreational fishermen, recreational fishing represents the vast majority of the catch. Almost all spotted seatrout are caught with hook and line, as many places have banned fishing for them with gillnets. The most common bait is shrimp, especially live shrimp, and larger trout prefer small bait fish such as menhaden. One catching technique, after dark, is to throw out a glow stick into the water and cast around it, as these fish are attracted to light (see Fishing light attractor).

Speckled trout are among the top ten species for recreational fishing in the United States.

According to the NOAA, spotted seatrout are in the top ten species for recreational fishing in the United States.[10] From 1993 – 2003, recreational fishermen in Louisiana harvested more than 6 million spotted seatrout each year.[11] Along the coasts of North Carolina and Virginia, more than half a million speckled trout were caught by recreational fishermen each year between 2005 and 2008.[12] Nevertheless, because they reproduce so well, spotted seatrout is listed as a “best choice” for sustainable seafood in Louisiana and Florida by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch.


Management[edit]

The management of the species is limited to size and possession limits, but programs have been initiated to gather more information on their overall health and abundance.[13]

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