Yelloweye Croaker

Yelloweye Croaker, Odontoscion xanthops

The Yelloweye Croaker, Odontoscion xanthops, whose common Spanish name is corvineta ojiamarillo, is a member of the Croaker or Sciaenidae Family, known collectively as berrugatas and corvinas in Mexico. Globally, there are only three species in the genus Odontoscion, two of which are found in Mexican waters, one in the Atlantic and one the Pacific.

The Yelloweye Croakers have short oblong compressed bodies. They have a silvery coloration with brownish tinges. Their sides have narrow longitudinal brown stripes that become oblique mid-fish above the lateral line. Their anal and pelvic fins are black and their caudal and second dorsal fins are yellow. Their head has a conical snout with a large slightly oblique mouth equipped with a pair of large canines in front, a projecting lower jaw, large eyes, and a small knob on the tip of their jaw. They do not have chin barbels, however, they have five pores on their chin. Their anal fin has two spines and 8 or 9 rays with the longest ray being longer than the second spine; their caudal fin is straight or slightly rounded; and their dorsal fin has 11 spines followed by another spine and 25 to 27 rays. They have 21 to 23 gill rakers and are covered with rough scales.

The Yelloweye Croakers are found within rocky areas, coastal reefs, and estuaries at depths up to 100 feet. They reach a maximum length of 30 cm (12 inches).  They are a rare species seldeom seen by humans and very little is known about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Yelloweye Croaker have a limited distribution being found only around the tip of Baja and along the coast of the mainland from Mazatlán south to Guatemala.

The Yelloweye Croaker is very similar in size and shape to the Longfin Salema, Xenichthys xanti (deeply notched dorsal fins; six to seven orange-brown stripes along sides) and the Salema, Haemulon,californiensis (six to eight orange-brown stripes on upper two-thirds of body).

They are an insignificant catch and are too small to be of interest to most.

Yelloweye Croaker, Odontoscion xanthops. Fish caught from shore at Km 21, Cabo Real, Baja California Sur, September 2003. Length: 15.0 cm (5.9 inches).

Yelloweye Croaker, Odontoscion xanthops. Fish caught from coastal water off Mazatlán, Sinaloa, October 2017. Length: 15.5 cm (6.1 inches). Catch and photo courtesy of Josh Leisen (, Gaylord, MI.

Yelloweye Croaker, Odontoscion xanthops. Fish provided by the commercial fishermen of the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur, September 2012. Length: 19.0 cm (7.9 inches).

Yelloweye Croaker (3)Yelloweye Croaker (4)

Yelloweye Croaker, Odontoscion xanthops. Fish caught from shore at Km 21, Cabo Real, Baja California Sur, July 2015. Length: 20 cm (7.9 inches).

Yelloweye Croaker, Odontoscion xanthops. Fish caught from shore at Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, February 2017. Length: 21 cm (8.3 inches). Catch and photo courtesy of Nick Morenc, Mission Viejo, California.