Spotted Drum

Spotted Drum Thrive Near Ledges and Caves

Divers who notice the Spotted Drum fish whenever snorkeling in Key West warm, tropical waters might think at first they are looking at a piece of pop art. The Spotted Drum, sometimes called the Spotted Ribbonfish, is a sea creature whose adult specimens sport both stripes and spots on their bodies. Very young Spotted Drum fish can hide behind a dime and are characterized by very long dorsal fins that make a gentle fluttering motion as they glide through the ocean water. They live at depths of almost 100 feet deep, hanging around the entrance to caves and ledges for most of the day prior to making their nocturnal feeding runs.

Divers snorkeling in Key West often report seeing groups of these fish swimming in the same repetitive motion like synchronized swimmers. Worms and crustaceans make up the daily diet of this nocturnal feeder. Spotted Drum fish derive their name not only from the appearance of their strange patterns but also the noise they can generate at very low resonance which has a sound similar to the rhythmic beating of a toy drum. Many divers considering sightings of both Adult and Juvenile Spotted Drum fish, which are abundant in the waters from south Florida all the way to Brazil, among the most exciting occurrences due to their op art appearance which easily attracts attention.