Sheepshead

FISH PROFILE

COMMON NAME

Sheepshead

Scientific name

Archosargus probatocephalus

FAMILY

Sparidae

LENGTH

35 centimeters, up to 91 centimeters

DIET

Plants, invertebrates, small vertebrates

FISH PROFILE

COMMON NAME

Sheepshead

Scientific name

Archosargus probatocephalus

FAMILY

Sparidae

LENGTH

35 centimeters, up to 91 centimeters

DIET

Plants, invertebrates, small vertebrates 

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

Sheepshead are a flat fish with vertical black stripes on an olive/white colored body, similar to a zebra. Although they are commonly 35 centimeters in length, they may reach a length of up to 91 centimeters. The distinguishing characteristic of sheepshead is their teeth, which look remarkably similar to human teeth.

RANGE, HABITAT, and BEHAVIOR

Although they primarily consume mollusks and crustaceans, a sheepshead’s diet varies from plants to invertebrates and small vertebrates. Sheepshead are mainly marine and brackish fish found in bays and estuaries but may wander into freshwater. Their habitat spans along the Atlantic coast and the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, with high concentrations found in Southwest Florida.

FUN FACT

With sharp anterior teeth and molars set further back, most people are surprised by how much the sheepshead’s toothy grin resembles human teeth! This anatomy gives them the strong bite they need to break through the shells of prey.

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