Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Serranus subligarius, Belted Sandfish, Belted Sandfish Bass

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brown, rear 1/2 - 4 dark bars
scale edges v dark, form lines
front soft D black blotch

Serranus subligarius (Cope, 1870)

Belted Sandfish, Belted Sandfish Bass

Body elongate, moderately compressed; snout shorter than eye; rear of top jaw exposed when mouth closed, without accessory bone above it; 3 opercular spines well developed, middle spine straight; preopercle regularly serrated, no spur with enlarged spines; gill rakers 15-19; dorsal fin X, 12-14; anal fin III, 7; pelvics inserted before pectoral base; pectoral fin 15-17; tail fin with bluntly straight edge, 13-15 branched rays; scales very rough, relatively large, 6-7 rows of scales on cheek; 42-46 pored lateral line scales; top of head without scales.

Head and body red-brown; lines formed by dark spots on body scales; a dark stripe through eye extends back to front of body; rear of body with 4 dark bars that extend onto dorsal fin, the first bar very prominent, extends onto the front of the soft dorsal as a large black blotch; a bright white bar on mid belly immediately before the first dark bar; dorsal, anal and tail fins with irregular thin brown bars; sometimes a pair of large black spots on base of tail fin; dorsal, tail and anal fins with lines of small dark spots; pelvics black, with white front borders.

Reaches 10 cm.

Rocky areas and sand and rubble; usually in silty areas.

Depth range: 3-100 m.

N Carolina to Cuba.

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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)
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • 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
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continental primarily
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 10
Depth Range Min
  • 3
Depth Range Max
  • 100