Black Drum: Photo by Peter Wilson
“Drum” is a broad colloquial name used in many English speaking areas to name various fish under the Sciaenidae family that make “drumming” sounds. The Black Drum makes these sounds by way of pharyngeal teeth.
These fish can get quite large – 100 kg (45 lbs) and their low frequency “drumming” can transmit a lot of energy over long distances. Southwest Florida residents living along canals frequently hear black drum calls in their homes during the spawning season. This is possible because the low frequencies of these calls are able to travel through the ground and into the walls and floors of their homes.
This became a significant problem in one housing development that featured protected waterfront access to every home. This channelized environment made prime habitat for drums (which are protected) and excluding habitat to their predators – mostly sharks. As a consequence members of the neighborhood association have become deeply intimate with the life cycles and natural history of the Pogonias cromis.
Fish, M.P. and Mowbray, H.M. 1970. Sounds of Western North Atlantic Fishes. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins Press. pg. 108-109.Hoese, H.D. and Moore, R.H. 1998. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico: Texas, Louisiana, and Adjacent Waters. Texas A&M University Press, College Station, Texas 77843Mok, H.K. and Gilmore, R.G. 1983. Analysis of sound production in estuarine fish aggregations of Pogonias cromis, Bairdiella chrysoura, and Cynoscion nebulosus (Sciaenidae).Bulletin of the Zoological Institute of Academia Sinica 22: 157-186.