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  • head deep, profile straight
    snout < eye
    D XI, 17-19
    dark bars + dark & light spots
    C rounded
    Alphestes afer, Mutton hamlet
    teeth depressible
    preoperculum: strong hidden spine points forwards
  • body: rows pale spots
    eye dark, no yellow outer ring
    2 yellow stripes: back and under eye
    C lobes: filaments
    LL 36-41
    Anthias asperilinguis, Jeweled gemfish
    D, C, A, pelvics: yellow + pink edge
    gill rakers 38-40
    soft D & A no long rays
  • Oval, blunt head
    yellow ring around eye
    D orange, A yellow
    LL 33-38
    C: yellow, tips -long streamers
    Anthias hensleyi, Euripos jewelfish
    top jaw scaled
    gill rakers 42-23
    pelvics: yellow - v long streamers
    A 7
    body: rows pale spots on scales
  • fins short
    iris blue, throat yellow
    D, A & pelvic yellow
    body: irregular pale spots
    LL 31-34
    Anthias nicholsi, Yellowfin bass
    31-34 gill rakers
    C : yellow, lobes round, red & purple
  • red + broad yellow stripe
    D yellow; C, A & pelvics red, C yellow borders
    D: longest spine (IV-V) with short filament
    D: front soft rays - filaments
    Anthias woodsi, Longtailed jewelfish
    C: v long filaments
  • reddish + yellowish fins
    eye large
    D spines -any filaments short, 15 rays
    C deeply forked
    preopercle serrate, no long spines
    pectoral 15-19
    pelvic 24-38% SL
    LL 42-53; rear lower jaw scaled
  • body orange to pink
    cheek: 2 yellow stripes
    D several spines with long filaments, 14 rays
    C deeply forked
    Baldwinella vivanus, Red barbier
    male: A yellow, pelvics red, D & C mauve
  • C tips black
    D 13
    gill rakers 20-21
    pectoral 15
    LL 43
  • red; C yellow, tips black
    head: 2 yellow lines
    D 14-15
    Bathyanthias mexicanus, Yellowtail bass
    gill rakers 18-23
    pectoral 14-16
    LL 43
  • red + yellow stripes
    C lobes: edges yellow, black tips
    D 12
    LL 43
    gill rakers 20
  • snout v short, forehead concave
    D X, 13-14; no notch
    black bar - nape to eye; black spots - front D & top tail base
    anus nearer pelvics base than A
  • pale + ~6 bars above, row spots below
    blue lines before eye
    D&C: black spots
    D 11, short filaments at spine tips
    C: 15 branched rays, edge W shape
    Centropristis ocyurus, Bank seabass
  • pale + 7 indistinct bars
    black blotch - center D
    D & C pale + reddish spots
    D 11, long filaments at spine tips
    C: 15 branched rays, edge W shape
  • dark, pale spot on each scale
    D spines silver, membranes black
    D 11, short filaments at spine tips
    C: 15 branched rays, edge W shape
    Centropristis striata, Black seabass
  • brown + blue spots
    rear body: pale bars
    juv: brown + blue spots
    Cephalopholis argus, Argus grouper, Peacock grouper, Peacock hind
  • dark + orange-brown spots
    upper back: row 4 white/black spots
    pectoral 16
    A 8
  • small dark-edged blue spots
    tip lower jaw: 2 black spots
    top tail base: 2 black spots
    pectoral 17-19
    A 9
  • elongate, oval, compressed
    head small, both profiles convex
    red/grey + 5-6 small dark spots on upper back & ta
    C deeply concave
    Cephalopholis furcifer, Atlantic creolefish
  • nostrils separated, rear - long filament
    body depth 26-32% SL
    head no stripes, iris yellow, C red tips
    Choranthias tenuis, Threadnose bass
    A 8
    pelvics < 33% SL
    LL interrupted 51-57
  • body deep, very compressed
    forehead oblique
    D XI, 18-20, interspine membranes slightly indente
    dark + pale mottling/spots
    C straight
    Dermatolepis inermis, Marbled grouper
    pectorals > > pelvics
  • eye large
    back- short double bars over dark stripes
    cheek: blue lines, operculum: internal dark mark
    Diplectrum bivittatum, Dwarf sand perch
    preopercular spur pointed, 1 spine cluster
    pectoral 14-16
    LL 61-63
  • head: many blue lines
    body ~6 thin blue stripes; head blue lines
    C base: dark spot
    preopercle spur rectangular, 2 spine clusters
    pectoral 15-17
    LL 66-88
  • eye small
    upper body: 2 thin dark stripes
    D orange border & base, D & A: orange spots
    C base: dark oval spot
    pelvics & A yellow
    Diplectrum radiale, the Aquavina
    preopercular spur rectangular, 1 spine cluster
    operculum: dark blotch
    pectoral 16-18
    LL 50-52
  • head & body: red-brown spots
    black saddles: back 3 (juv 2), tail base 1
    C rounded
  • body deep, compressed
    head concave
    snout pointed
    back humped
    Epinephelus altivelis, Humpback grouper
    white + round black spots
  • head & body: red-brown spots
    soft D, C & A - broad dark margin
    C rounded
    A 8
  • head & body thick
    eye small
    grey + pale blotches, + small dark spots
    D spines shorter than rays
    C: rounded
    Epinephelus itajara, Goliath grouper, Itajara grouper, Itajara Epinephelus quinquefasciatus grouper
  • red-brown + irregular pale blotches & spots
    D, C & A: outer edge dark + white border
    D: high peak at spines II-III
    C: straight/slightly concave
    Epinephelus morio, Red grouper
    inside mouth red
  • brown+ dense pale spots & scattered large blotches.
    juv: body & fins black + white spots
    Epinephelus ongus, White-streaked grouper
  • tan + irregular dark bars
    nape & eyes: dark Y
    tail base: black saddle
    C convex
    Epinephelus striatus, Nassau grouper
  • red + 6 yellow stripes; belly white blotch
    A - large red blotch
    pelvics mauve
    Gonioplectrus hispanus, Spanish flag, Spanish flan
  • red, flank - yellow spots
    yellow stripe: snout to pectoral base, fins yellow
    D, spine III long filament
    C shallow fork/~straight
    Hemanthias leptus, Longtail bass
    preopercle serrated, but no long spines
    pelvic long
  • snout +/- tiny spots
    dark blue-brown above, yellow below
    D = back color
    Hypoplectrus aberrans, Yellowbelly hamlet
  • head, body & fins dark brown
    violet: around eye, spots & lines on head, spot on opercle
    SW Gulf Mexico
    Hypoplectrus atlahua, Jarocho hamlet
  • white + yellow fins
    black bar under eye, black blotch on snout & tail base
    bright blue lines: head & breast
    Hypoplectrus castroaguirrei, Veracruz white hamlet
  • dark blue/black
    C yellow/clear
    Hypoplectrus chlorurus, Yellowtail hamlet
  • 3 dark bars: head, nape, mid-body
    spots: 4-5 top rear back, C base -2
    Hypoplectrus ecosur, Spotted hamlet
  • pale + 6 dark bars (4th = 2 spots)
    C base: 2 spots
    Hypoplectrus floridae, Floridian hamlet, Florida hamlet
  • bright blue
    C upper & lower rays black
    Hypoplectrus gemma, Blue hamlet
  • yellow/gold
    blue edged black blotch before eye
  • body dark brown, head & fins yellow
    before eye : blue ringed black blotch
  • blue + dark bars
    Hypoplectrus indigo, Indigo hamlet
  • pale
    upper flank: thick dark stripe + 3 blotches
  • forehead to back & spiny D - dark brown; rest yellow
    large black spot: side snout & top tail base
    Hypoplectrus maculiferus, Bicolored hamlet
  • blue, fins paler; no black on fins
    Hypoplectrus maya, Belizian blue hamlet
  • all black
  • grey-white, black triangle under eye
    pectoral black
    C black or grey + black top & bottom edges
  • tan + darker bars, belly & pelvics yellow
    head thin blue bars; snout: small blue spots
    Hypoplectrus puella, Barred hamlet
  • brown; black blotch before eye
    pectoral base: black spot
    tail base: +/- black saddle
  • red-brown head, body, D & C; mouth to belly mauve/blue
    pelvics & front A mauve/blue
    Hypoplectrus species 1, Blue-lip hamlet
    pectoral base: black spot
  • yellow-white
    side of snout: +/- black blotch
    tail base: black saddle
    Hypoplectrus unicolor, Butter hamlet
  • dark + dense small pearl spots
    juv: yellow + dense small blue spots
    C: straight/slightly concave
  • yellow-brown + blue line - eye to preoperculum
    fin edges yellow
    juv: D edge yellow; tail base - shallow black saddle
    C straight/concave
    Hyporthodus flavolimbatus, Yellowedge grouper
  • tan + ~8-9 bars, last thick & dark
    dark oblique stripes behind eye
    Hyporthodus mystacinus, Misty grouper
    juv: dark head, body bars, black saddle on tail base
  • deep oblong
    all red-brown to black
    juv: red-brown + few white spots, yellow C
    D X, spine II v elongate
    Hyporthodus nigritus, Warsaw grouper
    nostrils equal
  • dark brown, spiny D edge black
    juv: D edge black; tail base - deep black saddle
    D XI, spine III or IV longest
    Hyporthodus niveatus, Snowy grouper
    nostrils: rear 3-5x front
  • D front spine = long white blade
    red to white, fin edges white
    red bars: D to A, C base
    Jeboehlkia gladifer, Bladefin bass
  • head salmon + yellow stripe; body yellow above, salmon below
    yellow stripe: snout to operculum
    Liopropoma aberrans, Eye-stripe basslet
    juv: C yellow + red blotch, border white
  • purple + yellow stripes
    D2 (not A) black & blue ocellus
    C: 2 separate black blotches
    Liopropoma carmabi, Candy basslet
  • yellow-brown to red-brown
    snout to C: dark red- brown stripe edged with yellow
    Liopropoma eukrines, Wrasse basslet
  • red
    yellow stripe: eye & snout
    D2 (sometimes A): black spot
    Liopropoma mowbrayi, Cave basslet
    C rear edge: black & white bar
  • body: yellow over white + yellow spots
    yellow stripe: snout to operculum
    Liopropoma olneyi, Yellow-spotted basslet
    juv: pink + yellow spots; C yellow
  • yellow-brown + 5 red stripes
    D2 & A: black blotch
    C: 2 joined black blotches
    Liopropoma rubre, Peppermint basslet
  • body yellow over white
    top lip orange
    Liopropoma santi, Tail-spot basslet
    flank - white chevrons
    C: yellow + lower tip black
  • grey + white blotches & spots
    eye to lower head & body: dark wavy stripes
    preopercle - small lobe
    juv: tail base - black saddle
    Mycteroperca acutirostris, Western comb grouper
    lower gill rakers 32-36
    D & A - end round
  • grey + red-brown spots, dark quadrangular blotches in pale mesh
    pectoral margin pale/yellow
    C wide black margin, white edge
    D & A ends round
    Mycteroperca bonaci, Black grouper
    gill rakers 19-27, lower 9-16
    rear nostril ~ front nostril
    preopercle rounded
  • stripes back from eye; body - pale spots
    preopercle notched
    C rays extended in adult
    Mycteroperca cidi, Venezuelan grouper
    lower gill rakers 18-23
    D end angular
    A end pointed
  • upper 1/2: uniform or dense brown spots
    spiny D edge, lips & in mouth yellow
    pectoral: dark rays, white rear margin
    D & A: no dark spots
    C: rays project evenly
    Mycteroperca interstitialis, Yellowmouth grouper
    gill rakers 23-27
    preopercle: notch above angle
    juv: bicolored - dark above, white below, yellow spiny D
  • grey-brown + dark mottling & wavy lines
    eye: radiating dark lines
    D & A: ends dark, white border, round
    C dark, thin blue margin
    preopercle notched
  • all body: brown spots, usually in paw-print clusters
    mouth +/- yellow
    D & A with dark spots
    C dark, pale border, projecting rays uneven
    pectoral edge: dark inside white
    preopercle notched
    lower gill rakers 17-21
    A - end pointed rays 6-8 project
    juvenile colored like adult
  • dense red spots + pale oblique lines
    in mouth orange
    pectoral edge yellow
    D & A end angular
    extruded rays in D, C & A
    Mycteroperca tigris, Tiger grouper
    juv: yellow + dark stripe - snout to rear body
    preopercle - no notch
  • head & body: reddish spots + dark oval blotches in pale mesh
    pectoral: outer 1/3 abruptly yellow
    Mycteroperca venenosa, Yellowfin grouper
    D & A ends round
  • elongate, compressed
    head, body, soft D & A, C red spots
    lower body - white + 6 black bars
    D spines III-IV elongate
    Paralabrax dewegeri, Vieja parrot rock-bass
    pectoral base: dark blotch
    top jawbone - rear no scales
  • D deep notch; spines II-V: dark blotch
    Parasphyraenops atrimanus, Black handed bass
    top jaw covered
    + teeth
    operculum - central spine curves up
    inner base pectoral: dark blotch
    A 6
  • D deep notch; spines 1-IV: oblique dark blotch, bo
    top jaw covered
    + teeth
    operculum - central spine curves up
    A 7
  • D X (III v elongate), weak notch
    top head, back and spiny D: brick red
    body yellow-brown
    white stripe: snout to white blotch under D, white blotches behind
  • D X (III v elongate), weak notch, front spines white
    Plectranthias species A, White-barred bass
    head & body yellow-orange
    head: white marks, white under eye
    body: 4 long irregular white bars
  • oblong
    head yellow stripes, body pink + dark bar, edges D
    C concave
    roof mouth - central tooth patch elongate at rear
    tongue - oval tooth patch
  • forehead convex
    D VII
    red & brown checkerboard
    operculum black blotch
    Pseudogramma gregoryi, the Reef-bass
    upper edge operculum - mostly bound to body
    spines - preopercle 1, operculum 0
    A III
  • dark above, pale below, + dense small dark spots
    D II, 24-27
    Rypticus bistrispinus, Freckled soapfish
  • pale; front - few large round dark spots
    D II, 24-27
    Rypticus bornoi, Large-spotted soapfish
  • yellowish body and fins
    many dark spots: head, chest, body, fins
    Rypticus carpenteri, Slope soapfish
    behind upper eye: 1 spot
  • dark stripe through eye; back & side- scattered small pale spots
    D II, 22-27
    Rypticus maculatus, White-spotted soapfish
    pores on lower jaw & preopercle: single, distinct
  • uniform dark brown
    Rypticus randalli, Randall's soapfish
    pores on lower jaw & preopercle: few, large, single
    D II-III, 23-25
  • dark + many pale blotches & spots
    lower jaw v projecting, + knob
    D III, 23-26
    Rypticus saponaceus, Greater soapfish
    pores on lower jaw & preopercle: small, numerous, in patches
  • brown body & fins
    behind top eye: 2 spots
    row spots behind center eye
    D III-IV, 22
    Rypticus subbifrenatus, Spotted soapfish
    spots on body
    no/few spots: belly & fins
  • stripes + white blotches
    tail base: dark + white spots
    top jaw exposed
    D X, 11-13, ~no notch
    Schultzea beta, School bass
    no teeth
    operculum - central spine straight
  • white bar - center belly
    2 broad dark bars under D
    pelvics & A black.
    D X (membranes indented), 10-11
    Serraniculus pumilio, Pygmy seabass
    tail base abruptly white
    roof mouth with teeth
  • 2 black-ringed orange squares behind eye
    lower body: white + orange bars
    Serranus annularis, Orangeback bass
  • pale brown, +/- dark bar - spiny D to anus
    top corner opercle- oblique, narrow black, blue-edged bar
    Serranus atrobranchus, Blackear bass
    opercle - only central spine visible
  • belly white + 4 orange & brown rectangular blotches
    C base: 2 rows black spots
    Serranus baldwini, Lantern bass
  • red-brown, belly - large bright white blotch
    head - wiggly blue stripes
    C top & bottom margins: row brown spots
  • head & body: brown + small, dense dark spots
    rear belly: prominent white bar
    C base: 2 indistinct oceli
    Serranus flaviventris, Twinspot bass
  • midbody on LL - dark blotch
    D 12, spines: no filaments, edge yellow
    C 13 branched rays, concave, dark spot at base
    Serranus fuscula, Two spot seabass
  • white + 2 black stripes & elongate black blotches
    front D: large black blotch
    C forked, clear + black top & bottom margins
    Serranus luciopercanus, Crosshatch bass
    opercule: central spine large, curves up
  • whitish + faint yellow bars
    eye large, yellow
    Serranus maytagi, Palid bass
    fins pale, D & C - yellow tips
    top head scaled to between eyes
    opercular spines weak
  • brown bar through eye, white bar - operculum & chest
    body 4-6 brown bars
    belly: bright white bar
    Serranus notospilus, Saddle bass
    juv: 2 black bars + 3 dark stripes
    opercle spines poorly developed
  • pale; dark oblique bar under eye
    dark bar - front D to center belly, belly bright white
    thick stripe mid flank, thin stripe above
    Serranus phoebe, Tatler bass
  • brown, rear 1/2 - 4 dark bars
    scale edges v dark, form lines
    front soft D black blotch
    Serranus subligarius, Belted sandfish
  • white; broad orange-brown stripe - eye to C base
    C: dark C shape
    Serranus tabacarius, the Tobaccofish
  • white above, yellow below + narrow black bars
    lower head & throat: large black blotches
    C black basal bar, black spots in center
    Serranus tigrinus, Harlequin bass
  • blue-grey to pink-brown
    ~8 white narrow bars - upper head & back
    flank - row 2-3 pale blotches