Bigeye Corvina, Isopisthus remifer
The Bigeye Corvina, Isopisthus remifer, whose common Spanish name is corvina ojona, is a species in the Croaker or Sciaenidae Family, known collectively as berrugatas and corvinas in Mexico. Globally, there are only two species in the genus Isopisthus, one of which is found in Mexican waters of the Pacific.
The Bigeye Corvinas have elongated very compressed bodies. They have a silvery blue-gray coloration. Their fins are pale to yellowish, their pectoral axis is dark, and their lower jaw and gill linings are black. Their head features large eyes, an oblique mouth with a pair of large canines on the top jaw, and a strongly projecting lower jaw. They do not have barbels or pores. Their anal fin has two short spines and 17 to 19 rays with a long base that is similar in length to the second dorsal base; their caudal fin has a wide base and is straight to bluntly pointed; their dorsal fin has two well separated parts, the first with 7 or 8 spines and the second with one or two spines and 21 to 23 rays; their pectoral fins are long; and their pelvic fin is inserted behind the pectoral fin. They have 7 to 10 lower gill rakers and are covered with smooth scales.
The Bigeye Corvinas are found demersal over sandy bottoms along the shore, in the surf zone, and in inshore bays and estuaries at depths up to 340 feet. They reach a maximum length of 35 cm (14 inches). They are a fairly rare species that have been poorly studied and very little is known about their behavioral patterns.
In Mexican waters the Bigeye Corvina are found in all waters of the Pacific with the exception that they are absent from Guerrero Negro northward along the central and northwest coasts of Baja. They are more abundant in northern portions of the Sea of Cortez.
The Bigeye Corvina is very similar in appearance to a series of other Croakers, however, the Bigeye has eyes larger than most, pelvic fins that are inserted behind the pectoral fins, a short snout, and a very wide tail base.
The Bigeye Corvinas are caught primarily on cut bait (clams, squid, mullet, etc.) with small hooks and bottom rigs. They are viewed by locals as excellent table fare.
Bigeye Corvina, Isopisthus remifer. Fish caught from coastal waters off Mazatlán, October 2013. Length: 25 cm (10 inches). Catch and photo courtesy of George Brinkman, Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Identification courtesy of H.J. Walker, Jr., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA.
Bigeye Corvina, Isopisthus remifer. Fish caught within the coastal waters of Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur, April 2016. Length: 33 cm (13 inches).