Virtual Aquarium Home
Freshwater Drum
Freshwater Drum, Aplodintous grunniens

Of the 210 species almost exclusively marine species in this family, only one species inhabits freshwaters. This widespread species is found in nearly all river systems east of the Rocky Mountains. As their name implies, these fish can produce a croaking sound using their gas bladder as a resonating chamber. The fish signal one another, especially during the spawning season, by underwater drumming sounds. They are unique in producing floating eggs and larvae. Drums have 2 dorsal fins, the 1st dorsal fin with spines is about half the length of the 2nd dorsal fin. The body is deep and highly arched at the origin of the 1st dorsal fin. These bottom-dwelling river and reservoir fishes add to the aquatic diversity and serve as links in the food chain and indicators of water quality. They have strong pharyngeal teeth which are adapted for crushing snails and mussels on which they feed. They can grow large, reaching a record of 54 pounds in Tennessee.
Physical Description: 
�	Silvery, compressed body
�	High-backed with spiny rays
�	Subterminal mouth 
�	Short head
�	Blunt snout
�	2 dorsal fins
�	First dorsal fin arched with a stout spine
�	Second dorsal fin with a long base
�	Rounded tail fin
�	Gray back, silver body with blue and purple iridescence
�	Pelvic fin may be slightly orange

Similar species: 
�	Unique among freshwater fish; related to some marine fish

Mean body size:
�	Adults are 250-650 mm total length 

�	Lakes, reservoirs, and pools in low to moderate gradient rivers in turbid water and muddy bottoms

Distribution in VA:
�	Occurs in the Clinch and Powell systems in their main channels only

Food Habits:  
�	Feed on insects, crayfish, and fish

Reproductive Habits: 
�	All mature by age 6 or 7
�	Spawn from early May to July in water 18.9-22.2�C
�	Spawn in open water in schools
�	Fecundity is 27,000-508,000 eggs per female
�	Eggs and larvae float in the surface film of the water

Population Status, Economic, or Ecological Importance: 
�	Commercially important in parts of its range
�	Can be eaten, but smaller fish taste better than larger ones
�	Produce noises with their gas bladder during spawning season and when they are caught


Jenkins, R.E and N.M. Burkhead. 1993. Freshwater Fishes of Virginia. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland.
If you are seeking more information for the above species click on the VAFWIS logo (The Virginia Fish and Wildlife Information Service):

Continue Browsing Families.....
  1. Petromyzontidae, Lampreys
  2. Polyodontidae, Paddlefish
  3. Acipenseridae, Sturgeons
  4. Lepisosteidae, Gars
  5. Amiidae, Bowfins
  6. Anguillidae, Freshwater Eels
  7. Amblyopsidae, Cavefishes
  8. Ictaluridae, Catfish
  9. Percopsidae, Trout-Perches
  10. Salmonidae, Trouts
  11. Clupeidae, Herrings
  12. Esocidae, Pikes
  13. Aphredoderidae, Pirate Perches
  14. Umbridae, Mudminnows
  15. Fundulidae, Killifishes
  16. Poeciliidae, Livebearers
  17. Cyprinidae, Minnows
  18. Catostomidae, Suckers
  19. Gasterosteidae, Sticklebacks
  20. Atherinidae, Silversides
  21. Cottidae, Sculpins
  22. Sciaenidae, Drums
  23. Percidae, Perches
  24. Moronidae, Striped Basses
  25. Centrarchidae, Sunfishes

Virtual Aquarium Home