Otoad.jpg (10192 bytes)
Oyster Toadfish
(also known as the oyster cracker)

Family: Batrachoididae

Species: Opsanus tau (Linnaeus, 1766)

Range: western Atlantic from Maine to the West Indies.

Habitat: found on mud, oyster shell, rock, along sand bottoms and garbage dumps in shallow water.

Food:  preys on crustaceans, mollusks, fish, and just about anything else it can get its mouth on.

Characters useful in identification: bulging eyes; fleshy flaps (whiskers) on cheeks and jaws; broad, flat heads.

Color:  skin is yellowish to brown with dark brown oblique bars and brown reticulations.

toadfisht.jpg (10661 bytes)
Image courtesy: Fisherman's Guide: Fishes of the Southeastern United States.
Charles Manooch, III, author.  Duane Raver, Jr. , illustrator.

Reproduction:  toadfish are known for producing vocalizations, accomplished by rapid muscle contractions.  The male produces a "foghorn" sound which may attract females to a nesting site.  The spawning season lasts from April to October.

Maximum size: 38 cm TL (1.25 ft.)

Other interesting tidbits:


Murdy, E.O., R.S. Birdsong, and J.A. Musick. 1997.  Fishes of Chesapeake Bay.   Smithsonian Institution Press, 324 pp.

For any comments or suggestions, contact the Fisheries Webmaster (cfb@vims.edu)
Date last modified: 07/14/99