|Scientific name: Sciaenops ocellatus
|Range: Texas Gulf Coast, from Atlantic seacoast ranging from Mass. to Fla. continuing along Gulf of Mexico.
|Habitat: Saltwater to brackish water. including marshland, coastal rivers, and bay areas. Prefer shallows. Flourish in water temperatures in the 70's and 80's.
|Status: Not threatened. However, fishing limits on both commercial and recreational fishing are in place.
|Diet in the wild: Bottom feeds off of mollusks, crab, shrimp, crustaceans. Surface feeds on small fish.
|Diet in the zoo: shrimp, crustaceans, small fish, meal.
|Location in the zoo: Texas Wild exhibit, Gulf Coast Bait Shack
The Redfish is notorious as a bottom
feeding animal. However, it can also be seen on the surface, feeding
on schools of fingerling baitfish. It prefers shallow grass beds
and and structures where small fish and crustaceans are abundant.
There was a drastic decline in Red Drum populations in the late sixties
and early seventies. Through conservation efforts the species has
once again reached abundant levels. The first hatchery established
to restock the Redfish population was here in Texas near Port O'Conner.
In 1983, they released 2.3 million fingerlings into the San Antonio Bay.
This is an amazing sport fish to pursue.
|Special anatomical, physiological
or behavioral adaptations:
The only three truly unique feature this animal
possesses is its prominent spot or multiple spots on the dorsal edge of
the tail fin. It does have strong jaws and the ability to grind its
food, aiding in the consumption of mollusks and crustaceans ( a major
food source ). Its unique behavioral feature is that this fish likes
to dig its nose into the sandy ocean bottoms, allowing its tail to splash
the top of the water, known as "tailing".
|Comments about the Redfish of the Fort Worth Zoo:
The Texas Wild exhibit has on display 5 Redfish. They are typically a schooling fish which allows them to be more efficient during feeding. Typically Redfish like to corral their prey into the shallows and feed in waves.
This is a feisty, fun fish to pursue on regular
fishing tackle or a fly rod. They are amazing fighters. Due
to continued conservation efforts, the Redfish is continuing its resurgence
in the wild. The exhibit at the Ft. Worth Zoo contains five fish
in varying stages of maturity. The immature fish typically contain
four or five spots on their tail section whereas the mature fish typically
have only one.
|Source Materials and Related Links:
WhoZoo Animal Index
WhoZoo Fish Index
Fish at the Fort Worth Zoo