Sea Basses

Bank Sea Bass

sketch

Family Serranidae, SEA BASSES AND GROUPER
Centropristis ocyurus


Description: pale olive or brassy brown in color with indistinct black blotches that form vertical barrings (the blotch above pectoral fin darker); wavy blue lines on head; lips purplish-blue; caudal fin tri-lobed on adults; edge of nape unscaled.

Similar Fish: rock sea bass C. philadelphica; other Centropristis.

Where found: OFFSHORE in deep water with rocks and reefs. East of Cape Canaveral

Size: usually 0.3 pound (8 inches).

*Florida Record: n/a

Remarks: undergoes sex change, starting life as female, changing to male after three or four spawning seasons; feeds on the bottom, taking squid, crustaceans, and small fish.

sketch

Family Serranidae, SEA BASSES AND GROUPER
Centropristis striata


Description: basic color dark brown or black; dorsal fin has rows and stripes of white on black; large males have irridescent blue and ebony markings, and fatty hump in front of dorsal fin; females may have indistinct vertical barrings; topmost ray of caudal fin much elongated in adults; caudal may be tri-lobed; sharp spine near posterior margin of gill cover.

Similar Fish: bank sea bass C. ocyurus; other Centropristis.

Where found: structure-loving fish, associated with reefs and rubble OFFSHORE; smaller specimens often found INSHORE finger channels. East of Cape Canaveral and Poet Canaveral, Cocoa Beach

Size: common to 1.5 pounds (13 inches).

*Florida Record: 5 lbs., 1 oz.

Remarks: spawns January through March; protogynous hermaphrodites, older females becoming breeding males; omnivorous bottom feeders, diet including small fish, crustaceans, and shellfish.

Rock Sea Bass

sketch

Family Serranidae, SEA BASSES AND GROUPER
Centropristis philadelphica


Description: color olive-brown or bronze, with dark blotches forming vertical bars; dark black blotch on middle of dorsal fin base; tip of lower jaw purplish; bright blue and orange stripes and markings on head and fins; fully scaled nape; tail tri-lobed in adults.

Similar Fish: bank sea bass C. ocyurus; other Centropristis.

Where found: OFFSHORE; differs from other sea basses in that it is often found on sandy or muddy bottoms. East of Cape Canaveral

Size: small species rarely more than 10 inches.

*Florida Record: n/a

Remarks: spawns January through March; young adults are predominently female, transforming into males as they grow older; maximum size about 10 inches.