musselcracker, noun

Plurals:
musselcrackers, or unchanged.
Origin:
Named for its powerful jaws.
1. Any of three species of seabream of the Sparidae, the diet of which includes shellfish and crustaceans: a. The white steenbras (sense (a) see steenbras sense b), Lithognathus lithognathus. b. The black musselcracker (see sense 2 below), Cymatoceps nasutus. c. The white musselcracker (see sense 2 below), Sparodon durbanensis. In these senses also called mussel crusher.
1905 H.E.B. Brooking in E. London Dispatch 6 Nov. 7Judging by the enormous incisors, and the perfect pavement of rounded molars with which the jaws of these white steenbras are armed, these fish live largely upon shell-fish, hence the local name ‘mussel-cracker’ and Durban name ‘mussel-crusher’.
1932 Grocott’s Daily Mail 11 Jan. 2The catching of a mussel cracker, 62lbs in weight..yesterday cheered the hearts of local fishermen.
1937 C. Birkby Zulu Journey 180Enthusiastic anglers here will lead one before the mounted head of a mussel-cracker which weighed 53lbs and pause enraptured to gaze at the rows of great rounded molars, like polished marbles, with which the monster had made sure that his diet of mussels and oysters would not give him indigestion.
1949 J. Mockford Golden Land 45Heavy net-loads of fish..with formidable names such as musselcracker, kabeljauw and seventy-four.
1949 J.L.B. Smith Sea Fishes of Sn Afr. 268Sparodon durbanensis...Sand Stompkop. Sand Blouer. Mussel Cracker. Mussel Crusher (Cape). Silver Steenbras. Steenbras. Brusher (Eastern Cape — Natal).
1949 J.L.B. Smith Sea Fishes of Sn Afr. 271Cymatoceps nasutus...Musselcracker. Musselcrusher. Biskop. Black Biskop. Swart Biskop. Blue Biskop. Blou Biskop. Poenskop. Stompkop (Cape). Blouer or Bank Blouer (Knysna). Witbek. Stembras. Steenbras. Black Steenbras (Eastern Cape — Natal).
1955 C. Horne Fisherman’s Eldorado 89The musselcracker is the fish which is also known to Western Province anglers as sand stompkop, the white musselcracker or the white biskop,..the silver steenbras of the Eastern Province and Wild Coast, the brusher of Natal.
1971 Daily News 16 Apr. 3Zululanders can expect best results operating out of Mtunzini, where good catches of deep-sea reef-fish — including some big musselcracker have been reported.
1981 E. Prov. Herald 23 Apr. 11The name ‘steenbras’ is probably the most abused name in the whole of our fish nomenclature. What we call a mussel-cracker, Natal and Border anglers call a white steenbras.
1993 Bennett & Attwood in Earthyear Winter 35Since the prohibition of angling in the De Hoop Marine Reserve in 1986, the populations of..white steenbras, blacktail, bronze bream, musselcracker, Cape stumpnose, wildeperd..have recovered to densities..comparable to those which were likely to have been experienced by anglers earlier this century.
2. With distinguishing epithet designating a particular species of seabream:
black musselcracker, Cymatoceps nasutus, a large fish known for its characteristic fleshy protuberance which gives it the appearance of having a nose; bank blouer, see blouer sense b; biskop sense 1 a; black biskop, blou biskop, or blue biskop, see biskop sense 2; black steenbras, see steenbras sense b; blouer sense a; blue poenskop, see poenskop sense 2 b; poenskop sense 2 a ii; stompkop sense a;
silver musselcracker or (more commonly) white musselcracker, Sparodon durbanensis, a large species considered a good game fish; biskop sense 1 b; brusher; cracker; sand blouer, see blouer sense b; silver steenbras, see steenbras sense b; stompkop sense b; white biskop, see biskop sense 2; white steenbras sense (b), see steenbras sense b; also attributive.
Note:
In Smith and Heemstra’s Smiths' Sea Fishes (1986), the name ‘black musselcracker’ is used for Cymatoceps nasutus, and ‘white musselcracker’ for Sparodon durbanensis.
1986 B. Grobbler in Cape Times 27 Mar.There is an unusually good run this year of poenskop or black musselcracker.
1993 R. Van der Elst Guide to Common Sea Fishes 346The black musselcracker is a large, solitary species.
1982 S. Afr. Fishing Apr.May 10A silver musselcracker of 16kg..was the heaviest fish landed for the week.
1979 Snyman & Klarie Free from Sea 38White musselcracker steaks are most successful.
1993 R. Van der Elst Guide to Common Sea Fishes 369The white musselcracker is found in coastal waters, especially along rocky shores.
The white steenbras (sense (a) see steenbrasb), Lithognathus lithognathus.
The black musselcracker (see 2 below), Cymatoceps nasutus.
The white musselcracker (see 2 below), Sparodon durbanensis. In these senses also called mussel crusher.
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19051993