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Photo of the Week: Sheepshead

This week we are looking for convicts … I mean Sheepshead. These toothy, black and white striped fish are great to catch during these colder months. So, send in your best by January 22nd to win this week.

Unique to Sheepshead is they have human teeth. A fully-grown adult sheepshead will have well-defined incisors sitting at the front of the jaw, and molars set in three rows in the upper jaw and two rows in the lower jaw. It has strong, heavy grinders set in the rear of the jaw too, which are particularly important for crushing the shells of its prey. As with humans, this unique combination of teeth helps the sheepshead process a wide-ranging, omnivorous diet consisting of a variety of vertebrates, invertebrates and some plant material.

Sheepshead fish are a common North American marine species that span from Cape Cod and Massachusetts through to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to Brazil. Preferring coastal habitats around rock pilings, jetties, mangroves, reefs and piers, they can grow up to around 91 cm in length and weigh up to 9.6 kg. They have five to seven distinctive black, vertical bars running down their silvery bodies, which is why the sheepshead is also called the convict fish. And true to their name, sheepshead fish are notorious for stealing bait.

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