Brown meagre or corb (Sciaena umbra) is a species of croaker found in Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea occurring in shallow waters and sandy bottoms.
The brown meagre is between 30 to 40 cm in length but can grow to 60 cm. It has a flat belly and its strongly arched back which give it an easily recognisable shape, the body is laterally compressed and the large, horizontal mouth reaches the level of the eye and contains villiform teeth. The anal and pelvic fins are black with an anterior white border. Both dorsal fins and the truncate caudal fin, are yellow with a black border. The body is grey with flashes of gold and silver. The scales are cteniod on the nape and the body while the head scales are cycloid.
The brown meagre is found in the eastern Atlantic Ocean from the southern English Channel south to Senegal and Cape Verde, including the Canary Islands, records from West Africa south of Senegal are questionable. Also in the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea and Sea of Azov.
Habitat and behaviour
The brown meagre is found at depths between 5m and 200m, mainly over rocky and sandy substrates and the young enter estuarine environments. It is a rather nocturnal fish but it can occasionally be found during the day among beds of sea grass and on rocky bottoms in the vicinity of caves or large crevices where it can shelter. This species is social and lives in small groups. It feeds off the small fishes and crustaceans. They are capable of creating sound using some muscles under their well developed swim bladder. This is their way of communication since they have a very good hearing ability. They can manage their buoyancy perfectly. The spawning period is from March to August in the Mediterranean.
The specific name umbra is derived from the Latin for a shadow or phantom while the generic name is derived from the Greek skiaina or skion meaning a fish, or more specifically a red mullet.