Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Serranus tabacarius, the Tobaccofish, Tobaccofish bass

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white; broad orange-brown stripe - eye to C base
C: dark C shape

Serranus tabacarius (Cuvier, 1829)


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 21-25; dorsal fin X,12, central spines enlarged, almost no notch between spiny and soft fins; anal fin III, 7; pelvics inserted before pectoral base; pectoral fin 15; tail bluntly straight edge, 13-15 branched rays; scales very rough, relatively large; 50-52 pored lateral line scales; top of head without scales.

Head and body white; a thick yellowish orange stripe from chin, under eye, across operculum to base of tail fin; a dark bar through eye across snout, another between eyes, a double bar across nape; a broad Y bar under dorsal fin; a bar on upper tail base; upper and lower lobes of tail fin with dark brown stripes that form a dark C.

Reaches 22 cm.

Sand and rubble areas around rocky and reef areas.

Depth range: 1-94 m.

Georgia to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom + water column
  • Bottom
  • Near Bottom
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Sand & gravel
  • Mud
  • Soft bottom only
  • Water column
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species.
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Extends South of GC
  • All species..
  • GC non-endemic
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Island (s)
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 22
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 94