Yellowtail Corvina

Yellowtail Corvina, Cynoscion stolzmanni

The Yellowtail Corvina, Cynoscion stolzmanni, whose common Spanish name is corvina coliamarilla, is a species in the Croaker or Sciaenidae Family, known 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 Yellowtail Corvinas have elongated fusiform compressed bodies with an oval cross-section. They have an overall silvery coloration with a steel blue hue on their upper back. The inside of their gill cover (operculum) and pectoral fin base are dark. They have a dark crescent behind the center of their lower teeth. Their soft dorsal fin has a dusky margin and all their fins are yellowish. Their head is conical with a straight upper profile except for being slightly concave over the eyes. Their mouth is strongly oblique and ends after the eyes. They have a prominent lower jaw and a pair of large pointed canine teeth on the front of the top jaw. The edge of their operculum is smooth and they do not have pores or barbels on their chin. Their anal fin has two spines and 8 or 9 rays; their caudal fin is “S” shaped; their dorsal fin has a long base with 10 spines followed by another spine and 19 to 21 rays with no gap between the two parts; their pectoral fins are short and do not reach the tip of the pelvic fins. They have 8 or 9 gill rakers and their body is covered with rough scales.

The Yellowtail Corvinas are found over sandy bottoms in estuaries, open bays, and coastal waters at depths up to 100 feet. They reach a maximum length of 90 cm (3 feet 0 inches). They feed on small fish and shrimp. The Yellowtail Corvinas are poorly studied and very little is known about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Yellowtail Corvinas have a limited range being found from the mouth of the Sea of Cortez and along the west coast of the mainland south to Guatemala.

The Yellowtail Corvina can be confused with the Orangemouth Corvina, Cynoscion xanthulus (orange inside mouth; blunt tail), the Queen Corvina, Cynoscion albus (yellow mouth; pectoral fins longer than pelvic fins), the Scalyfin Corvina, Cynoscion squamipinnis (seven or eight dorsal spines; blunt tail), the Totoaba, Totoaba macdonaldi (23-25 dorsal rays), and the White Seabass, Atractoscion nobilis (wide gap between dorsal fins).

The Yellowfin Corvina is fairly abundant in some locations and is sold commercially; it is an important food fish in the majority of Central America countries.

Yellowtail Corvina, Cynoscion stolzmanni. Fish caught from coastal waters off  Mazatlán, Sinaloa, October 2012. Length: 58 cm (23 inches), 4.5 pounds. Catch and photo courtesy of George Brinkman, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Yellowtail Corvina, Cynoscion stolzmanni. Fish caught from coastal waters off  Mazatlán, Sinaloa, January 2012. Length: 90 cm (35 inches). Photo and identification courtesy of Jason Potts, Mazatlán.