The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Sciaenops ocellatus
Sciaenops ocellatus
(Red Drum)
Marine Fishes
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
Sciaenops ocellatus (Linnaeus, 1766)

Common name: Red Drum

Synonyms and Other Names: redfish.

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Hoese and Moore (1977); Manooch (1984); Robins and Ray (1986).

Size: 155 cm.

Native Range: Marine. Massachusetts to northern Mexico, including southern Florida (Robins and Ray 1986).

Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Sciaenops ocellatus are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
TX1953201527Austin-Travis Lakes; Buffalo-San Jacinto; Colorado Headwaters; East Galveston Bay; Landreth-Monument Draws; Lower Brazos-Little Brazos; Lower Colorado-Cummins; Lower Guadalupe; Lower Pecos-Red Bluff Reservoir; Lower Trinity-Tehuacana; Lower West Fork Trinity; Medina; Middle Brazos-Lake Whitney; Middle Brazos-Palo Pinto; North Fork Double Mountain Fork Brazos; Paint; Pecos; Sabine Lake; San Ambrosia-Santa Isabel; South Concho; South Laguna Madre; Upper Angelina; Upper Clear Fork Brazos; Upper San Antonio; Upper Trinity; White; Wichita

Table last updated 7/13/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

* HUCs are not listed for states where the observation(s) cannot be approximated to a HUC (e.g. state centroids or Canadian provinces).

Means of Introduction: Beginning in the 1950s, several million red drum have been intentionally stocked by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for use as a sportfish (Howells and Garrett 1992).

Status: Because the red drum will not reproduce, Texas populations must be supplemented with repeated stockings.

Impact of Introduction: Freshwater mussels in the family Unionidae have had very poor recruitment over the past 20 or so years in Tradinghouse Creek and Fairfield reservoirs in Texas. Reproduction of these mussels may be affected by red drum feeding on juvenile mussels. Red drum, which feed heavily on mussels in marine waters, were first stocked in Tradinghouse Creek and Fairfield reservoirs in 1975 and 1984, respectively, about the time of the mussel decline. Blue tilapia also was stocked around the same time and may have contributed to the decline by eating juveniles (Howells 1995).

Remarks: Sublette et al. (1990) included this species in their list of "fishes introduced into New Mexico, now considered extirpated." However, they provided no additional information.

References: (click for full references)

Dolman, W. B. 1983. Red drum freshwater stocking evaluation. Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Fisheries Restoration Act, Texas, Federal Aid Project F-31-R-9, Objective XLII. Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Henderson, G. G., Jr. 1972. D-J Federal Aid Project F-18-R-5, Rep. Job 8. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Howells, R. G. 1995. Losing the old shell game: could mussel reproductive failure be linked to tilapia? Info-Mussel Newsletter 3(8):4.

Howells, R. G., and G. P. Garrett. 1992. Status of some exotic sport fishes in Texas waters. Texas Journal of Science 44(3):317-324.

Lasswell, J. L., G. Garza, and W. H. Bailey. 1977. Status of marine fish introductions into the freshwaters of Texas. Proceedings of the 31st annual conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies 31(1977):399-403.

Rasmussen, J.L. 1998. Aquatic nuisance species of the Mississippi River basin. 60th Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, Aquatic Nuisance Species Symposium, Dec. 7, 1998, Cincinnati, OH.

Robins, C. R., G. C. Ray, and J. Douglass. 1986. A field guide to Atlantic Coast fishes of North America. The Peterson Guide Series, volume 32. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.

Sublette, J. E., M. D. Hatch, and M. Sublette. 1990. The fishes of New Mexico. New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM. 393 pp.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Fuller, P.

Revision Date: 11/26/2019

Peer Review Date: 8/11/2004

Citation Information:
Fuller, P., 2024, Sciaenops ocellatus (Linnaeus, 1766): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=960, Revision Date: 11/26/2019, Peer Review Date: 8/11/2004, Access Date: 7/13/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/13/2024].

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