porgy pôr´gē [key], common name for members of the Sparidae, a family of small-mouthed fishes with strong teeth adapted for crushing their food of shellfish and crustaceans. Porgies are found in warm and tropical coastal areas and are especially abundant in the Mediterranean and Red seas and in the West Indies. Best known of the North American species is the migratory porgy Stenotomus chrysops, found from the Carolinas to Cape Cod and called scup in New England, porgy in New York, and fair maid in the South. It is an excellent food fish. Common S of Chesapeake Bay is the sheepshead. The jolthead porgy, named for its habit of butting shellfish loose from rocks and pilings, is the largest (up to 10 lb/4.5 kg) of the family. In Europe the name porgy generally refers to the red porgy or seabream, Pagrus pagrus, a red fish with blue spots common in Mediterranean and Atlantic waters. Porgies are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Perciformes, family Sparidae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Vertebrate Zoology