One of my favorite items in my collection of fish geekery are several bowls from potter Liz Russell of R Honey Pots in Forestville, California, whose ceramic creations are inspired by the sights seen on her diving vacations.
Among the set is this one, featuring a juvenile spotted drum (Equetus punctatus).
At first glance, you might pass this off as stylized design and an exaggeration of some natural form, but amazingly, it is actually what the animal looks like:
Spotted drum wiggle around with their flowing, ribbon like fins as juveniles; the ones pictured above are probably about 3 inches (7.6 cm), about the same as your little finger.
Eventually, their color pattern and fin shapes change, and as adults they grow to 10.5 inches (27 cm) and end up looking like this (hint: spotted!):
The spotted drum is found in the western Atlantic ocean in shallow seas, along with many other members of the drum and croaker family, Sciaenidae.
Larger species of drums and croakers are popular food and game fish.
In North America, these include the redfish or red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) popular in U.S. southern cooking and sportfishing, and the white seabass or corvina blanca (Atractoscion nobilis), a popular gamefish in Pacific waters. Another example would be the yellow croaker (Larimichthys polyactis) of the western Pacific, commonly mentioned in Chinese and Korean cooking.
Drums and croakers get their name for their ability to make a drumming or croaking sound. We’ll talk more about this unique feature in another post.
Equetus punctatus (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)
Spotted Drum (click for names in other languages)
Class Actinopterygii (Ray-finned Fishes)
Order Perciformes (Perch-like Fishes)
Family Sciaenidae (Drums and Croakers)
FishBase Page: http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Equetus-punctatus.html
– Ben Young Landis