Drum, a game fish named for the drumming sound it produces. This sound is made when the fish expels gases from its air bladder. The sounds sometimes interfere with naval submarine-detection apparatus. Drums are important food fish.
The common drum, or black drum, has numerous long feelers, called barbels, on its lower jaw that are used to locate prey. The red drum, or channel bass, has a dark spot on the tail. It has no barbels. Both species are found along the Atlantic coast of the United States. The freshwater drum is grayish-silver and lives in the Great Lakes and inland rivers.
When drums tighten their stomach muscles, the muscles vibrate against their swim bladders. These vibrations cause loud drumming sounds. A fish’s swim bladder helps it float in water rather than sink to the bottom.
There are about 250 kinds of drums. Many live in shallow ocean waters near the shore. The spotted drum is a common drum that spends its life in tropical waters in the Caribbean.
Drums vary in size. The spotted drum usually grows about 9 inches (23 centimeters) long. The biggest drum is the totoaba (toh TWAH vuh), in the Gulf of California. It grows up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) and weighs up to 225 pounds (101 kilograms).
The common drum is Pogonias cromis; the red drum, Sciaenops ocellata; the freshwater drum, Aplodinotus grunniens. All belong to the croaker family, Sciaenidae.