Archosargus probatocephalus

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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 5 to 6 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, and they try around jetties and the pilings of bridges and piers.[4] The average weight of a sheepshead is 3 to 4 pounds, but some individuals reach the range of 10 to 15 pounds.[4] They are edible.


  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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