Queenfish, Seriphus politus

The Queenfish, Seriphus politus, whose common Spanish name is corvineta reina, is a species in the Croaker or Sciaenidae Family, known collectively as berrugatras and corvinas in Mexico. Globally, there are only one species in the genus Seriphus,  this species which is found in Mexican waters of the Pacific.

The Queenfish have elongated moderately compressed bodies. They have a silvery blue coloration, which transitions to silver on their belly. Their fins are yellowish. Their head is compressed with a depressed profile over the eyes, a key to identification, and a large oblique mouth that opens at the front. They have two pores on their chin, no barbels, and eight pores on their snout. Their gill cover can be either smooth or serrated. They have a prominent lateral line. Their anal fin has a long base with two short thin spines and 21 to 23 rays; their caudal fin is slightly concave; their dorsal fin has 8 or 9 spines followed by another spine and 18 to 21 rays; their first dorsal fin is short and well separated from the second fin; and their pectoral fins are short with a dark base. They have 25 to 27 moderately long and slender gill rakers and are covered with rough scales.

The Queenfish are found demersal over sandy bottoms along the shore, in the surf zone, in inshore bays and off shore to depths up to 595 feet, however, they are most common in the surf zone at depths up to 30 feet. They reach a maximum length of 31 cm (12 inches). They feed on small, free swimming crustaceans, small crabs, and fish. They are a poorly studied species and little is known about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Queenfish have a limited distribution being found from Magdalena Bay northward along the central and northwest coasts of the Baja.

The Queenfish cannot be confused with any other Croaker due to its large mouth, concave head profile around the eyes, wide gap between the two dorsal fins, and the anal and dorsal fins bases being of equal length.

The Queenfish are caught with some regularity off the piers of southern California on live anchovies, cut shrimp, and cut squid. Although small in stature they are retained by substance fishermen and sold commercially on a limited basis. They are also used as live bait.

Queenfish, Seriphus politus. Fish caught off the Oceanside Pier, Oceanside, California, May 2006. Length: 15.0 cm (5.9 inches).