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Family Sciaenidae - Drum Family

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Sciaenidae
- These fishes are called "drum" or "croaker" due to their ability to make sounds using the gas bladder. Drums have two dorsal fins, a lateral line that extends to the end of the caudal fin, thoracic pelvic fins and a body that is deep and highly arched at the beginning of the dorsal fin.
freshwater drum (Aplodinotus grunniens)
Photo © Uland Thomas
freshwater drum (Aplodinotus grunniens)
Photo © Isaac Szabo/Engbretson Underwater Photography

 Features and Behaviors

The average life span of a freshwater drum is seven years. Its average weight is one pound. The silver body has a humpbacked appearance. The lateral line extends to the end of the tail. The name "drum" comes from the ability of this fish to produce sounds, using the gas bladder to amplify them. There are two dorsal fins, the first with spines. A long ray appears as a filament on the pelvic fin. Teeth are present in the throat.
The freshwater drum lives in rivers, lakes and impoundments. This fish lives on or near the bottom. It attains maturity at age five. Spawning occurs in April and May. The sounds produced by the drum may be used in the spawning process. The female deposits 200,000 to 400,000 eggs. Eggs and larvae float at the water's surface. The freshwater drum eats insects, fishes and crayfish.

 Illinois Range