Silver Drum

Silver Drum, Larimus argenteus

The Silver Drum, Larimus argenteus, whose common Spanish name is boquinete chato, is a member of the Croaker or Sciaenidae Family, known collectively as berrugatas or corvinas in Mexico. Globally, there are only seven species in the genus Larimus, five of which are found in Mexican waters, one in the Atlantic and four in the Pacific.

The Silver Drums have robust and strongly compressed bodies with a humped back. They are silvery grayish-blue with a dark spot at their pectoral fin base. Their fins are clear with a faint tinge of yellow. Their head is short and compressed with a short snout, very large eyes, and a very vertical mouth that ends before the eyes and is equipped with a single row of minute teeth on each jaw. They do not have a chin barbel. The margin of their gill covers is smooth. Their anal fin has two spines and 6 rays with the second spine being stout and slightly shorter than the first ray; their caudal fin ends in an angular point; their dorsal fin is deeply notched and has 10 spines plus one spine and 27 to 29 rays; and their pelvic and pectoral fins are long and reach the anus. They have 23 to 26 long slender gill rakers and are covered with rough scales.

The Silver Drums are found demersal over sandy bottoms along the shore at depths up to 165 feet. They are known to enter estuaries. They reach a maximum length of 52 cm (20 inches). They feed on planktonic crustaceans. They are poorly studied and little is known about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Silver Drums are found from Magdalena Bay southward along the southwest coast of Baja and along the central and southern coasts of the mainland from the central Gulf south to Guatemala.

The Silver Drum is most likely confused with the Pacific Drum, Larimus pacificus (oblique mouth; rounded caudal fin; 31 to 33 gill rakers), the Shining Drum, Larimus effulgens (oblique mouth; silvery red color; 26 to 31 gill rakers), and the Steeplined Drum, Larimus acclivis (oblique mouth; oblique lines above lateral line; straight lines below lateral line).

The Silver Drums are sold commercially in local markets within their range. They are caught by artisanal fishermen and as a by-catch of shrimp trawlers. From a conservation perspective they are currently considered of Least Concern with a wide distribution.

f684-silver-drum-1Silver Drum, Larimus argenteus. Fish caught from coastal waters off Mazatlán, Sinaloa, October 2016. Length: 41 cm (16 inches). Catch courtesy of Michael Ells, Big Rapids, MI. Photo and identification courtesy of George Brinkman, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.