Rock Croaker

Rock Croaker, Pareques species A

The Rock Croaker, Pareques species A, whose common Spanish name is payasito gungo, is a species in the Croaker or Sciaenidae Family, known collectively as berrugatas and corvinas in Mexico. A formal species has not yet been assigned to this fish by the scientific community since it is exceedingly rare and has not been fully documented. It is also known at the Pacific Highhat. There are only seven global members of the genus Pareques, five of which are found Mexican waters, three in the Atlantic and two in the Pacific.

The Rock Croakers have oblong deep compressed bodies. They have a uniform dark gray coloration with 4 to 7 dark stripes along their sides that fade fairly quickly post collection. Their fins are a uniform color without bars, spots or colored margins. Their head has an overhanging snout and a horizontal mouth. Their chin has 5 pores and no barbels. Their anal fin has a short base with two spines and 7 or 8 rays with the second spine being thick and two-thirds the length of the first ray; their causal fin is bluntly rounded; their dorsal fin has a long base with a deep notch with 7 or 8 bluntly pointed spines followed by another spine and 42 to 45 rays; and their pectoral fins are short. They have 19 to 23 short gill rakers. They are covered with rough scales.

The Rock Croakers are found within rocky habitats at depths between 35 and 115 feet. They reach a maximum length of 30 cm (12 inches). The Rock Croakers are a very rare and poorly studied species and limited information is available about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Rock Croakers 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.

The Rock Croakers are very similar in markings and shape with the Festive Drum, Pareques fuscovittatus (white boarders to the fins; deeper waters, different anal, dorsal and gill raker counts). They are a poorly studied species and limited information is available about their behavioral patterns. They are too rare and too small to be of interest to most.

Rock Croaker, Pareques species A. Fish caught out from coastal waters off Mazatlán, Sinaloa, April 2013. Length: 12.7 cm (5.0 inches). Catch and photo courtesy of Mike Ells, Big Rapids, MI. Identification courtesy of Dr. Ross Robertson, Smithsonian Institute, Panama.

Rock Croaker, Pareques Species A. Fish provided by the commercial fishermen of Bahía Kino, Sonora, November 2014. Length: 27 cm (11 inches). Photo courtesy of Maria Johnson, Prescott College Kino Bay Center, Kino Bay, Sonora. Identification courtesy of Dr. Ross Robertson, Smithsonian Institute, Panama.

Rock Croaker, Pareques species A. Fish provided by the commercial fishermen of Bahía Kino, Sonora, March 2015. Length: 15 cm (5.9 inches). Photo courtesy of Maria Johnson, Prescott College Kino Bay Center, Kino Bay, Sonora. Identification courtesy of Dr. Ross Robertson, Smithsonian Institute, Panama.