Croakers, jewfishes or drums are members of the Sciaenidae family. They are distributed in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. They can be recognized by having a long dorsal fin with a deep notch between the spinous and soft-rayed parts, but the parts rarely separate. Also, their lateral line continues up to the tip of caudal fin. However, accurate identification of species of this family is not possible without examination of the swimbladder and the otoliths which requires cutting and gutting the fish.
Croakers primarily inhabit coastal waters on continental shelves, but also occur in estuaries and rivers, especially in breeding seasons and when juvenile and young. A large majority of them are found over muddy or sandy bottoms. Some occur in large shoals and are the object of sizeable fisheries. They are bottom dwelling carnivores, feeding on small crustaceans, fishes, and benthic organisms.
There are 66 genera and about 290 species of croakers worldwide. Malaysian waters has at least 52 species.