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Species: Serranus tigrinus, Harlequin Bass

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white above, yellow below + narrow black bars
lower head & throat: large black blotches
C black basal bar, black spots in center

Serranus tigrinus (Bloch, 1790)

Harlequin 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; anal fin III, 7; pelvics inserted before pectoral base; pectoral fin 13-16; tail with slightly concave edge, 13-15 branched rays; scales very rough, relatively large; 48-51 pored lateral line scales; top of head without scales.

Head and body white above, yellowish below; a black stripe front snout through eye, large black blotches on lower head and throat; ~8 black bars, 2 on rear of head, 6 on the body; tail fin with black bar at base, black spots on rest of fin; dorsal fin with two rows of black spots; anal fin with a row of black spots along its base.

Reaches 12.3 cm.

Sand and rubble areas around reefs and on reefs themselves; in seagrass beds

Depth range: 0-55 m.

North Carolina to the S Caribbean.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Rocks
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • 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 endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • GC endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 12.3
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 55