Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Polyprion americanus, Wreckfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

knob over eyes, nape with ridge
D XI-XII, 11-12
teeth small
lower jaw strongly projects
operculum - horizontal ridge ends in spine
scales small, v rough, head & body

Polyprion americanus (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)


Body oblong, moderately deep, moderately compressed, grouper-like in shape; head spiny between eyes and on nape, rough in young fish; snout smooth; a bony knob over eyes; nape with a ridge; mouth opens at front, lower jaw strongly projecting; end of top jaw broad, exposed; jaw teeth small, no canines; small teeth in patches on roof of mouth and on tongue; upper operculum with a distinctive horizontal bony ridge that ends in a short spine, which has a small spine above; dorsal fin with XI-XII strong spines, 11-12 soft rays, a moderate notch between the 2 parts; end of tail fin straight in adults, rounded in juveniles; pectorals rounded, shorter than pelvics; anal fin II strong spines, 9-10 soft rays; scales small, very rough, covering body, head (except snout) and jaws; lateral line ends before tail fin.

Dark slate grey to brownish, lighter below; pelagic juveniles mottled in shades of grey.

Reaches 200 cm, 100 kg; reaches 80 years

Marine, on rocky bottoms

Depth range: 42-1028 m.

Temperate W and E Atlantic; Newfoundland to Argentina.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Reef only
  • Rocks
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Vagrant
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
IUCN Red List
  • Data deficient
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 200
Depth Range Min
  • 42
Depth Range Max
  • 1028