Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Diplectrum formosum, Common Sand Perch, Sand Perch

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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

Diplectrum formosum (Linnaeus, 1766)

Sand Perch, Common Sand Perch

Body elongate, moderately compressed; rear of top jaw exposed when mouth closed; teeth fixed, not depressible; angle of preopercle with rectangular bony spur supporting 2 clusters of radiating spines; dorsal fairly low, X spines, 11-13 rays; anal fin III, 6-8; pectoral 15-17; pelvics inserted under or a little before pectorals; tail fin moderately forked, top lobe of northern subspecies (see below) with a filament; lateral line complete; scales moderately small, rough; snout and between eyes scaleless; 66-88 lateral scales; 10-15 rows of scales between eye and lower corner of preoperculum.

Pale yellowish brown; ~6 thin blue stripes from head to tail, many wavy blue lines on head; body either with ~8 indistinct dark bars or a dark stripe from snout, through eye to tail, with a dark spot on the base of the tail fin.

Reaches 30 cm.

Inshore seagrass flats and sand and rubble bottoms.

Depth range: 1-132 m, usually 7-50 m.

Virginia to Brazil; with 2 subspecies, one (D. formosum formosum) from Virginia to the Yucatan, the other (D. formosum radians) from Colombia to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • 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)
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continental primarily
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 30
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 132