(Archosargus probatocephalus)

Archosargus probatocephalus, commonly known as the sheepshead, is a species of fish belonging to the family Sparidae. Here are some key characteristics and information about this species:

  1. Distribution: Sheepshead are found in the western Atlantic Ocean, ranging from Nova Scotia, Canada, southward to Brazil. They are particularly abundant along the eastern coast of the United States, from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to the Gulf of Mexico.
  2. Appearance: This species is characterized by its deep, compressed body and prominent teeth, which resemble those of sheep, hence the name “sheepshead.” They have a silver-gray body with vertical black stripes that alternate with lighter stripes. These stripes are most pronounced in juveniles and tend to fade as the fish matures. They have strong, blunt teeth adapted for crushing and grinding shells and crustaceans, which form a large part of their diet.
  3. Size: Sheepshead can grow to considerable sizes, reaching up to about 76 cm (30 inches) in length and weighing over 9 kg (20 lbs).
  4. Habitat: They inhabit a variety of coastal habitats, including tidal creeks, estuaries, bays, and nearshore reefs. They are often found around pilings, jetties, and other structures where they can feed on barnacles, crabs, and other small crustaceans.