English: Drums; Croakers.
Genera: 66 to 70; 286 to 298 species.
Region: worldwide, Southeast Asia, northeast South America, Gulf of Mexico, California.
Habitat: fresh and salt water, benthic carnivores; rivers, estuaries, bays, muddy river banks; avoid clear waters, such as coral reefs and oceanic islands; warm-temperate and tropical waters.
Use: rough fish not suitable for eating; fishing and eating, despite their limitations.
Sciaenidae can produce repetitive throbbing or drumming sounds, by beating the abdominal muscles against the swim bladder; with a lateral line on each side that extends to the tip of the caudal fin; mouth is set low and is usually inferior.
Size: small to medium-sized.
Fins: long dorsal fin reaching nearly to the tail; notch between the rays and spines of the dorsal; anal fin usually has two spines; dorsal fins are deeply notched or separate. caudal fin is mostly rounded or pointed.
Color: somberly shades of brown.
Food: invertebrates, smaller fish.