The American coot is a dark, duck-like bird with a white bill. It visits the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers, creeks and wetlands from autumn through spring.
Arks are boxy bivalves with thick, white, ribbed shells. They live in the salty waters of the lower Chesapeake Bay.
The Atlantic croaker is a silvery-pink fish that makes a loud “croaking” sound. It visits the Chesapeake Bay from spring through autumn.
Atlantic menhaden is a silvery-blue herring with dark spots on the sides. Large schools of menhaden visit the Chesapeake Bay from spring through autumn.
Atlantic Oyster Drill
The Atlantic oyster drill is a small, predatory snail with a pointed, ribbed shell. It lives on reefs, rocks and pilings throughout the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay.
The Atlantic silverside is a small forage fish with a silver band along either side of its body. It can be found in schools in the Bay, and is an important part of many larger fishes’ diets.
The barn swallow is a small, agile bird that visits open waters, wetlands and farm fields throughout the Chesapeake Bay region from spring through autumn.
The bay anchovy is a small, translucent fish that lives in schools throughout the Chesapeake Bay. It is the most abundant fish in the Bay.
The bay scallop is a bivalve that lives in the lower Chesapeake Bay’s salty, shallow waters. Its ribbed, multicolored shells are often found on beaches throughout the lower Bay.
Black Sea Bass
The black sea bass is a striking, bluish-black fish that visits the lower Chesapeake Bay from spring through autumn.
Blennies are small, brightly colored fish that live in the Chesapeake Bay year-round, mostly among oyster reefs.
The blue crab is a swimming crustacean with bright blue claws and an olive green shell. It is one of the most recognizable species in the Chesapeake Bay.
Bristle worms are soft, segmented worms found along shorelines, mud flats and shallow waters throughout the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers.
The canvasback is a large diving duck with a distinctive long, sloping facial profile. It visits the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal rivers from autumn through spring.
Cobia are large, long fish with a dark stripe running along the sides of the body. They visit the lower Chesapeake Bay’s open waters from spring through autumn.
Common Sea Star
The common sea star is a spiny-skinned echinoderm with five pointed arms. It lives mainly on rocks, jetties and pilings in the shallow, salty waters of the lower Chesapeake Bay.
Common Spider Crab
Also known as the portly spider crab or the nine-spined spider crab, the common spider crab is a long-legged and slow-moving crustacean that covers itself in algae and small debris as a defense against predators.
The double-crested cormorant is a large, black water bird with a long, hooked bill. It lives year-round on the Chesapeake Bay’s shallow and open waters.
Flatworms are tiny, leaf-shaped worms that live among reefs, jetties and eelgrass meadows in the shallows of the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay.
Gobies are small, secretive fish that live in the Chesapeake Bay year-round, mostly among oyster reefs.
Gould’s shipworm is a bivalve with a long, worm-like body. It lives within untreated wood, such as pilings and driftwood, in the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay.
The greater scaup visits the east coast of the Chesapeake region during the winter. Females are brown with a white patch on their face, and males are white with a dark rump and head.
The hard clam is a bivalve with thick, ridged, rounded shells. It lives in the salty waters of the lower Chesapeake Bay.
Hermit crabs are small crustaceans that lack a shell and must “borrow” one from another animal. They live on beaches, mud flats and shallow waters throughout the lower Chesapeake Bay.
The unusually-named hogchoker is a small, flat fish with a brown, rounded body. It is abundant year-round throughout the Chesapeake Bay.
The hooded merganser is a diving duck with a distinctive fan-like hood on the back of the head. It lives on freshwater lakes, wooded wetlands and tidal shallows throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed from autumn through spring.
The horseshoe crab is a primitive-looking arthropod with a hard, brownish-green exoskeleton and a spike-like tail. It visits the Chesapeake Bay’s sandy beaches each spring and summer to spawn.
Jellyfish are floating animals with gelatinous, umbrella-shaped bells and stinging tentacles.
Knobbed whelks are marine gastropods that live in tidal estuaries along the Atlantic coast. Their spiral shells can range in color from grayish white to tan.
Laughing gulls are medium-sized gulls with white underparts and a gray back. They visit the Chesapeake Bay in the summer to breed.
Lumpfish are saltwater fish, generally living in the North Atlantic but occasionally coming as far south as the Chesapeake Bay. They have a skin-covered fin that gives them a high crest on their backs, and they have three rows of bony protrusions on their sides.
Macoma clams are tiny bivalves with thin, chalky white shells. They live buried in the sand or mud in the shallow waters of the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay.
The mantis shrimp is a crustacean with a flattened, segmented body and praying mantis-like claws. It burrows within muddy flats along the shoreline of the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay.
The northern pintail is a dabbling duck with long, pointed tail feathers. It visits fresh and brackish tidalmarshes and rivers throughout the Chesapeake Bay region from autumn through spring.
The oyster toadfish is an ugly fish that lives year-round in oyster reefs and other shallow parts of the Chesapeake Bay.
The red drum is a large, reddish fish with at least one black spot at the base of the tail. It visits the lower Chesapeake Bay from spring through autumn.
The river otter is a large, brown, weasel-like mammal found along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay and lakes, streams, rivers and marshes throughout the Bay watershed.
The royal tern is a large seabird with a thick orange bill that can be found along Chesapeake coastal beaches during its breeding season.
The ruddy duck is a small, chubby diving duck that visits the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers, marshes and freshwater lakes from autumn through spring.
Skeleton shrimp are tiny, gangly amphipods with transparent, stick-like bodies. They live attached to hydroids, sponges and vegetation in the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay.
The skilletfish is a small, frying pan-shaped fish often found clinging to oyster shells in the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay.
Soft Shell Clam
The soft shell clam is a bivalve with thin, elongated shells. It lives buried in soft sediments in the middle Chesapeake Bay.
Spot are small, feisty fish with a distinctive large, black spot near the gill opening. They are common from spring through autumn in the shallow waters of the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay.
The spotted seatrout is a sleek, silvery fish with black, round spots scattered across the back. It visits the Chesapeake Bay from spring through autumn.
Also known as the rockfish or striper, the striped bass is a large predatory fish with dark stripes running across its metallic sides. It lives throughout the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries year-round.
The summer flounder is a flat, brownish fish with large spots on the top side of the body. It visits the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay from spring through autumn.
Also known as the black back, the winter flounder is a sizeable flatfish whose small head and mouth are located on the right side of its body. Well-adapted to living on the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay, the winter flounder is a common find and popular catch during colder months.