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Species: Centropristis philadelphica, Rock Sea Bass

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

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

Centropristis philadelphica (Linnaeus, 1758)

Rock Sea Bass

Body oblong, compressed; mouth large, reaching under center of eye; width between eyes 4-6% of SL; rear of top jaw exposed when mouth closed, without scales; teeth on jaws in bands; a triangular patch of teeth at front of roof of mouth, bands of teeth along sides of roof of mouth; preopercle finely serrated, evenly rounded edge; opercle with 3 flat spines; gill rakers 17-22; dorsal fin X, membranes between dorsal fin spines with a filament that extends beyond spine tip, 11; pectorals 15-21; tail fin edge 3 lobed, with upper, middle and lower rays long and pointed; lateral line scales 46-49, 11-18 between lateral line and dorsal origin.

Pale olive grey to brown above, pale below; head with blue stripes before eye, tip of lower jaw purplish; rusty spots on upper body and, especially, head; inside gill chamber black, visible through operculum; body and tail base with ~7 vertical rows of dark blotches forming indistinct bars, dark lines between those blotches forming a grid pattern; a black saddle under rear part of spiny dorsal that extends onto the fin; rest of dorsal fin with two pearly stripes, and red-brown spots; spine tips and filaments orange; tail fin with rows of dark red-brown & pearl spots; anal fin with a broad central orangish stripe.

Reaches 30 cm.

Lives on mud, sand and rocky bottoms.

Depth range: 10-243 m.

Virginia to the Gulf of Mexico.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Mud
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 30
Depth Range Min
  • 10
Depth Range Max
  • 243