Fun Freshwater Drum Facts For Kids

Joan Agie
Jan 12, 2023 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Ankit Shinde
The freshwater drum facts about a fish with a long dorsal fin.

The freshwater drum is known to be native fish species of Central and North America. It is the single species that belong to the genus Aplodinotus.

freshwater drum is found in freshwater lakes and rivers with sand and rocky beds at the bottom. The freshwater drum is also referred to with multiple names such as Croaker, Gasper goo, Graspergou, Grunter, Grinder, Russell fish, and Wuss fish.

In a few parts of Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, this fish is well known as sunfish and sheepshead fish.

This fish's appearance varies depending on the habitat, i.e. it appears grayish or silvery in muddy water, whereas it appears brownish in more transparent water.

Is there a question in your mind, can you eat this fish? The answer is yes. A freshwater drum is domesticated mainly for food and commercial purposes.

These fish move in groups and are known to be active at night. These fish show a strong fighting tendency to escape when trapped, especially from the anglers.

This article will take you through different facts about freshwater drum. If you would love to know more about few more fish species, you may also consider looking into our articles on the tang fish and the tetra.

Freshwater Drum Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a freshwater drum?

This fish is a drum fish species more abundantly seen in Central and North American regions.

What class of animal does a freshwater drum belong to?

A freshwater drum (scientifically known as Aplodinotus grunniens) belongs to the Actinopterygii class. The members of this class are ray-finned fishes.

How many freshwater drum are there in the world?

This fish is one of the known 275 drum fish species. Many of these species are mentioned to be less endangered and abundantly available. The exact population details of a freshwater drum are not available.

Where does a freshwater drum live?

The freshwater drum is native to the North American region. Its geographical distribution range extends to the Appalachian Mountains in the East; Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma in the West; Hudson Bay in the North; and Guatemala in the South.

What is a freshwater drum's habitat?

A Freshwater Drum's preferable habitat is deep to shallow large rivers and lakes with sand and gravel beds at the bottom. This fish can also survive in turbid and murky waters.

Who does freshwater drum live with?

This fish generally moves in large clusters. The younger ones are known to rival other fish species like Yellow perch, Emerald Shiner, and Trout-Perch, mostly found in Lake Erie to gain superiority.

How long does a freshwater drum live?

A freshwater drum fish's average life span is known to vary from 6-13 years in the wild. But the information on their life span when kept captive is unknown.

How do they reproduce?

The freshwater drum fish generally prefers open water to breed. They breed once a year, and the breeding period lasts for six to seven weeks.

In this species, the reproductive maturity age varies for the males and the females, i.e. the male drums reach reproductive maturity at the age of four.

In contrast, the female drums reach reproductive maturity at five or six years. Once the females reach maturity age, they tend to move into shallow water approximately 33 ft deep.

The preferable water temperature for breeding is 65-68o F (18.3-360 C). So, this fish is expected to start breeding in June through July.

During this breeding period, the females release eggs in the open water column while the males release the sperm. The mating system is different for this species and is known as Spawning.

The females release eggs to the tune of 34,000-66,500. The fertilization of these eggs is assumed to occur at random as there is no scientific evidence available to justify this statement.

These eggs float to the water's surface and take 48-96 hours to hatch. After hatching, the larvae's size is expected to be 0.13 in (3.3 mm)long, and it continues to stay on the water surface for three to four days until it reaches a size of 0.17 in(4.3 mm) long.

The larvae transform into an adult and attain a length of 0.59 in (15 mm) after five to eight days. After reaching this adult stage, it becomes independent and starts swimming to find its food.

What is their conservation status?

Though the exact population details of freshwater drum are unknown, they are considered as less endangered species as per the classification by The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in the Least Concern category.

Freshwater Drum Fun Facts

What do freshwater drum look like?

This fish is laterally compressed, deep-bodied with a long dorsal fin that contains a deep notch. The lateral line of this fish extends into its caudal fin. Its dorsal fin contains 10 spines and 29-32 rays. The scales of freshwater drum appear gray or silver when in muddy water, while they appear brown in transparent water bodies.

How cute are they?

This fish is not considered cute as it is domesticated mainly for food and as a bait to catch high-value fish species.

How do they communicate?

The freshwater drum fish is known to communicate using grunting or crocking sounds. The name grunniens is given to this fish because of the male fish's grunting sounds to attract the females for mating during the spawning period. This grunting sound in males comes when a specific set of muscles in its body cavity vibrate against their swim bladders.

How big is a freshwater drum?

This fish can grow 12-30 in (30-76 cm) long during its lifespan. In this species, females are known to grow faster than males. The growth also depends on food and habitat availability.

How fast can a freshwater drum?

A freshwater drum speed is unknown, but they are known to move at a moderate speed in shallow waters and mostly in groups.

How much does a freshwater drum weigh?

A freshwater drum weight generally ranges from 5-15 lb (2.2-6.8 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

freshwater drums do not have any specific names based on their gender. They are generally called male freshwater Drum and female freshwater Drum.

What would you call a baby freshwater drum?

The freshwater drum baby is commonly known as juvenile freshwater drum or young freshwater drum.

What do they eat?

Generally, a freshwater drum feeds on insects, mussels, and crayfish. These fishes mainly eat the organisms which live on the river or lake beds, like the mussels and aquatic insects larva. The early-stage larvae, i.e.

juvenile freshwater drums, eat the larval stages of insects like caddisflies and mayflies for their survival. Eating habits vary depending on the seasons.

In spring, they eat dipterans that constitute 50% of their diet in April and May. From August to November, they eat small fish that constitutes 52-94% of their diet in this timeframe. The freshwater drum teeth are sharp and strong enough to prey on hard-shelled species like snails.

Are they dangerous?

A freshwater drum is considered to show less aggression towards other fish species.

Would they make a good pet?

A freshwater drums are not considered to be aquarium pets as they are domesticated mainly to consume as a food item.

Did you know...

Here are few more interesting facts about freshwater drum. For freshwater drum, the hatching of eggs happens on a river or lake surface as the eggs float to the water surface.

Due to this, there is a chance of carrying away eggs and larvae by river or lake currents. That is why a freshwater drum is one of the most wide-ranging species in the North American region.

Another interesting fact is that the female larvae grow at a faster pace than the male larvae. The eggs and the larvae are prone to be victims of predation as they stay afloat on the water surface till they attain the ability to swim.

Once the fishes become independent, they start moving in groups for preying. Due to this group movement, they serve as prey fish for many predatory fishes like smallmouth bass and walleye during their first year of life.

After one year, the main predators of this fish are humans. The adult, fishes, are not invasive, but they prey on invasive species like zebra mussels.

One more interesting fact about the freshwater drum is its unique ear bone or otolith used in ornaments. These otoliths are known as freshwater drum stones and are considered lucky stones.

If you love fishing, you can try catching this fish with basic fishing skills, say, attaching a bait and handling the anglers. It is also easy to catch these fish as they move in groups with a large number.

The available options for freshwater drum bait are Crayfish, redworms, and minnows. Out of these, the best bait would be crayfish.

Are Freshwater drum good for eating?

If you ask, are freshwater drum good to eat? The answer is yes. freshwater drum meat is soft and whitish, known to taste like a redfish.

This fish's raw meat may not taste good, but the boiled, baked, and grilled drum fillets with coated spices can be delicious. The freshness of the meat also adds to the taste. It is suggested to store them in ice immediately after catching them to maintain their freshness.

A freshwater drum is considered an essential harvest in areas around the Mississippi River. Though this fish's market value is known to be relatively low, it can sometimes be used as bait to catch high-value fishes.

Is a Freshwater drum a carp?

A freshwater drum fish is quite often confused with a Carp fish because of the few similarities in appearance. But their tail shape is different. The Carp fish weighs more, and also its consumption is higher compared to a freshwater drum.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including herring, or fluke fish.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our fish bubbles coloring pages.

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Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

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Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

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Fact-checked by Ankit Shinde

Bachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication

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Ankit ShindeBachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication

Ankit is a Journalism and Mass Media graduate from the University of Mumbai. With experience in SEO, blog and article writing, and fiction writing, he is a versatile writer and content creator. In his free time, Ankit enjoys reading, writing, and listening to music.

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