Shortfin Corvina, Cynoscion parvipinnis
The Shortfin Corvina, Cynoscion parvipinnis, whose common Spanish name is corvina aleta corta, is a species in the Croaker or Sciaenidae Family, known collectively as berrugatras and corvinas in Mexico. Globally, there are twenty-four species in the genus Cynoscion, thirteen of which are found in Mexican waters, three in the Atlantic and ten in the Pacific.
The Shortfin Corvinas have elongated robust compressed bodies with an oval cross-section. They have a silvery blue-gray coloration. Their caudal and pectoral fins are dark, with the pectoral fin having a dark axis. Their head is long and features a projecting lower jaw and a long oblique mouth that is yellow-orange on the inside and extends beyond the eyes. There is a dark crescent behind their front lower teeth, and their top jaw has a pair of large pointed canines. The inside of their gills is dark. They do not have chin barbels or pores on their chin. Their anal fin has two spines and 10 or 11 rays; their caudal fin is slightly concave; their dorsal fin has a long base with 7 or 8 spines followed by another spine and 21 to 23 rays; and their pectoral fins are short. They have 7 to 9 lower gill rakers. They are covered with rough scales and their lateral line is arched anteriorly.
The Shortfin Corvinas are found demersal over sandy bottoms along the shore, in the surf zone, and in inshore bays at depths up to 330 feet. They reach a maximum length of 60 cm (24 inches). The Shortfin Corvinas are uncommon and poorly studied and very little is known about their behavioral patterns.
In Mexican waters the Shortfin Corvina are found along the entire west coast of Baja and throughout the Sea of Cortez. They are absent from Mazatlán southward along the coast of the mainland to Guatemala.
The Shortfin Corvina is very similar in appearance to a series of other croakers, however, it has short pectoral fins (after which it is named) and uncolored fins.
The Shortfin 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.
Note: The Shortfin Corvinas were introduced as a sportfish to the Salton Sea in southern California in the early 1950s. Fish were able to survive for at least one year but were unable to reproduce and died out fairly quickly.
Shortfin Corvina, Cynoscion parvipinnis. Fish purchased at the Central Mercado, San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur, March 2012. Length: 44 cm (17 inches). Identification courtesy of H.J. Walker, Jr., The Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA.
Shortfin Corvina, Cynoscion parvipinnis. Fish caught inside the Puerto Los Cabos Marina, Baja California Sur, September 2015. Lenght: 94 cm (37 inches). Photos and catch information courtesy of Eric Brictson, La Playita, Baja California Sur..
Shortfin Corvina, Cynoscion parvipinnis. Fish caught out of coastal waters off La Bocana, Baja California Sur, October 2015. Length: 38 cm (15 inches). Catch and photo courtesy of George Brinkman, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
Shortfin Corvina, Cynoscion parvipinnis. Fish caught from coastal waters within the Devil’s Curve section of Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur, February 2017. Length: 41 cm (16 inches). Catch and photo courtesy of Brad Murakami, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.