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Archosargus: The Fish with Human Teeth


Archosargus: The Fish with Human Teeth

Archosargus is a genus of fish in the family Sparidae, also known as porgies or sea breams. These fish are found in marine and estuarine habitats along the coasts of North and South America. They are popular edible sport fish and have a distinctive feature: human-like teeth.

In this article, we will explore the facts about archosargus, their appearance, diet, habitat, breeding, conservation status and more.

Appearance

Archosargus fish have compressed bodies and high foreheads. They have a single dorsal fin and a slightly forked caudal (tail) fin. Their body color is silver with broad, dark vertical stripes that are most distinct in juveniles. The resemblance to striped prison jumpsuits inspired the nickname “convict fish” . The fish also have sharp spines running down their backs.

The most striking feature of archosargus fish is their teeth. They have squarish, human-like front teeth and rows of stubby molars in their lower jaws. These teeth are used for crushing and grinding hard-shelled prey such as mollusks and crustaceans .

Most archosargus fish grow to between 17 inches and 17.7 inches (43 to 45 centimeters) long. However, some individuals can reach up to 36 inches (91 cm) long . The largest species in the genus is Archosargus probatocephalus, commonly known as the sheepshead fish. Some specimens of this species have been known to exceed 1 m (3 feet) and weigh more than 11 kg (25 pounds) .

Diet


Appearance

Archosargus fish are omnivorous and feed on a variety of animals and plants. As juveniles, they eat any soft-bodied animals they can find and a few small, shelled animals such as ostracods. Once they grow longer than about 2 inches (5 cm), they start eating hard-shelled animals such as mollusks, barnacles, crabs, shrimps and sea urchins . They also consume some algae and seagrasses.

Archosargus fish chew their food with their teeth before swallowing it. They can crack open shells with ease and extract the flesh inside. They are opportunistic feeders and will eat whatever is available in their habitat .

Habitat


Diet

Archosargus fish live in marine habitats and estuaries in the western Atlantic Ocean, from Nova Scotia in eastern Canada, down the eastern U.S. and Central American coastline, and as far south as southern Brazil . They prefer shallow waters with rocky or sandy bottoms, where they can find shelter and food among reefs, pilings, jetties, bridges and docks.

While archosargus fish usually live in salt water and slightly salty brackish water, they are sometimes found in freshwater habitats in winter, when they seek out warmer waters where springs and rivers empty into the ocean . They can tolerate a wide range of salinity and temperature conditions .

Breeding


Habitat

Archosargus fish are sexually dimorphic, meaning that males and females have different physical characteristics. Males have larger heads and longer anal fins than females . Archosargus fish are also protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning

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