Archosargus probatocephalus

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For other uses, see Sheepshead (disambiguation).
Archosargus probatocephalus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Sparidae
Genus: Archosargus
Species: A. probatocephalus
Binomial name
Archosargus probatocephalus
(Walbaum, 1792)

The sheepshead, Archosargus probatocephalus, is a marine fish that grows to 30 in (760 mm), but commonly reaches 10 to 20 in. It is deep and compressed in body shape, with five or six dark bars on the side of the body over a gray background. It has sharp dorsal spines. Its diet consists of oysters, clams, and other bivalves, and barnacles, fiddler crabs, and other crustaceans.[1] It has a hard mouth, with several rows of stubby teeth, which help crush the shells of prey.[2]


Although the Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn, in New York City, was named after the fish,[3] it is almost entirely a southern species: its range extends from the mid-Atlantic to Texas.[1] As sheepshead feed on bivalves and crustaceans,[1] successful baits include shrimp, sand fleas (mole crabs), clams, fiddler crabs, and mussels.[4] Sheepshead have a knack for stealing bait, so a small hook is necessary.[4] Locating sheepshead with a boat is not difficult: Fishermen look for rocky bottoms or places with obstructions, jetties, and the pilings of bridges and piers.[4] The average weight of a sheepshead is 3 to 4 lb, but some individuals reach the range of 10 to 15 lb.[4]


  1. ^ a b c "Sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus)". Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  2. ^ "No Braces Necessary for the Sheepshead Fish With Human-like Teeth". 
  3. ^ "The Naming of Sheepshead Bay". Brooklyn Based. Retrieved 2013-01-04. 
  4. ^ a b c d Gillis, Chad (March 6, 2008). "Fishing 101: Sheepshead Porgy". 

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