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  • body oblong
    D XI
    Acanthistius pictus, Peruvian sea-bass
    behind eye: 2 oblique stripes
    opercle: 3 spines, blotch between top 2
    lower edge preopercle - spines point forward
  • snout short, forehead straight
    dark bars + white spots + black dots
    Alphestes immaculatus, Pacific hamlet, Pacific mutton-hamlet
    pectoral: rows spots
  • snout short, forehead straight
    dense brown spots, forming stripes at rear
    Alphestes multiguttatus, Pacific guaseta, Many-spotted hamlet, Rivulated mutton-hamlet
    pectoral: 5-6 dark bars
  • pink above, silver below, nape yellow
    large eye, iris blue
    yellow stripe: snout - operculum
    D & A: front rays long
    C red + top & bottom blue
    Anthias noeli, Rosy jewelfish
    D spines silver, rays blue-pink
  • elongate oval; very large eye
    pink; C & soft D - yellow spots
    C: forked, sharp tips
    Baldwinella eos, Bigeye bass
    pectoral passes A origin
    pelvic - no long rays, yellow
  • elongate, fusiform
    both front profiles convex
    green-brown + 5 white spots, reddish fins
    juvs: yellow or grey + 5 dark spots
    C: very concave
    Cephalopholis colonus, Pacific creolefish
  • dark blotch behind eye
    body - ~ 10 thin dark bars
    juv: blue-gy, green nape
    D IX, 14
    Cephalopholis panamensis, Panamic graysby, Pacific graysby, Panama graysby
  • elongate
    head long, low, pointed
    D: X, middle spines longer than head
    Cratinus agassizii, Grey threadfin sea-bass
  • body deep, very compressed
    forehead oblique
    bars + pale blotches & dark spots, fin edges yellow
    juv: black + many white bars
  • in mouth yellow
    belly: yellow blotch
    Diplectrum conceptione, Yellow-mouth sand-perch
    preopercular spur: 4-6 spines, central 2 large & diverging
    pelvics dark
    A yellow
  • under & behind eye: row spots join orange stripe
    D & A end & front rays ~ same height
    C: bars of orange spots
    Diplectrum eumelum, Orange-spotted sand-perch, Pointed sand-perch, Cheekspot sand-perch
    preopercle spur deep, angular, 8-14 spines
    7-10 rows scales on cheek
  • yellow stripe on cheek -> 2-3 across operculum
    soft D: black stripe along base
    body: 4 double dark bars
    Diplectrum euryplectrum, Big-head sand-perch, Wide-spur sand-perch
    preopercular spur: deep, square, 6-12 spines
  • body: 4 double dark bars
    D: spines II-IV long, with filaments, black
    soft D 3-5 oblique orange stripes
    C: 3 orange bars, black & white spots on top edge
    Diplectrum labarum, High-fin sand-perch
    preopercle spur: square, deep. 8-13 spines
  • yellow bar: eye to top lip
    body: thin dark bars
    soft D: row orange spots, rear rays < front rays
    D length front rays > rear rays
    Diplectrum macropoma, Barred sand-perch, Big-scale sand-perch, Pygmy sand-perch, Mexican sand-perch
    preopercle spur: very deep, angular, 8-13 spines
  • grey-brown + pale stripe along upperr side
    operculum: dark blotch
    Diplectrum maximum, Greater sand-perch, Torpedo sand-perch
    preopercular spur: narrow, pointed, 4-8 spines
    A 2nd spine ~ 3rd
  • pink blotch over origin A
    C top edge red, bottom white, rows orange spots
    Diplectrum pacificum, Pacific sand-perch, Inshore sand-perch
    preopercle spur: square, not deep, 5-8 spines
    cheek 10-14 rows scales
    gill rakers 15-24
  • eye to snout: 2 oblique yellow stripes
    eye: yellow ring
    above A: yellow blotch
    C base: dark blotch in center, 2 black spots at top
    Diplectrum rostrum, Narrowspur sand-perch, Bridled sand-perch, Barsnout sand-perch
    preopercle spur: low, blunt, rounded, 7-11 spines
    cheek 10-14 rows scales
    gill rakers 22-25
  • top jaw bone deep
    body: 2 stripes + 8-10 bars
    D 2-3 rows yellow spots
    D 2-3 rows yellow spots
    Diplectrum sciurus, Gulf sand-perch, Squirrel sand-perch, Gulf squirrelfish
    preopercular spur: deep, square, 5-10 spines
    gill rakers 32-41
  • body & fins tan + many small brown spots
    D: X, 16-18
    Epinephelus analogus, Spotted cabrilla, Spotted grouper
  • pink-grey + white spots
    D XI, 15-16, 3rd-4th spines longest
    juvenile: fine mesh of dark spots + pale lines
    Epinephelus clippertonensis, Clipperton grouper
    scales: 46-50 around tail base, 16-18 above LL
  • grey-green, pale mottling, white blotches
    D: XI, 16-18, 3rd or 4th spine longest, > rays
    tail base: dark saddle
    Epinephelus labriformis, Flag cabrilla, Starry grouper
    scales: 34-40 around tail base, 11-12 above LL
  • grey + scattered dark spots, oblique dark bars
    juv: dark bars & spots
    D: XI, spines shorter than rays
    C: rounded
    Epinephelus quinquefasciatus, Pacific goliath grouper, Pacific itajara grouper
  • body: lot yellow
    C: middle rays longest
    Hemanthias peruanus, Split-tail bass, Rose thread-tail bass
    no hook under throat
    pectoral 16-18
  • body: little yellow
    D 3rd spine very long
    C: outer rays longest
    Hemanthias signifer, Damsel bass, Damsel thread-fin bass, Hookthroat bass
    hook under throat
    pectoral 18-20
  • red-brown, fins darker
    D: IX, 2nd-4th spines long
    Hyporthodus acanthistius, Gulf coney, Rose coney, Rooster hind
    juvenile - blue spots
  • grey-green
    D: XI, 2nd spine longest, much longer than 1st
    juvenile - no white spots
    Hyporthodus cifuentesi, Olive grouper, Northern grouper
    front & rear nostrils ~ same size
    gill rakers 9-11 + 17-20
  • brown-green
    D X, adult - 2nd & 3rd spines long, 2nd >3rd
    juv: green + pale spots & C dark/pale
    Hyporthodus exsul, Ten-spine grouper, Black grouper
    rear nostril larger, an inverted tear drop
    24-27 gill rakers
  • tan + ~ 9 bars, last thick & dark
    D XI
    Hyporthodus mystacinus, Misty grouper
  • dark brown, sometimes + rows pale spots
    D: XI, adult - 2nd spine elongate
    juvenile - white spots + dark/yellow tail
    Hyporthodus niphobles, Star-studded grouper, Snowy grouper
    rear nostril vertically elongate, 2-5 times > front nostril
    gill rakers 8-9 + 15-17
  • purple & red + 3 yellow stripes
    Liopropoma fasciatum, Rainbow bass, Wrasse ass bass, Rainbow basslet
  • pink; flank - red stripe, back - yellow stripe
    fin edges yellow
    Liopropoma longilepis, Scalyfin basslet
  • brown + oblong dark blotches, lines radiate from eye
    fins - outer 1/3 dark, thin white margins
    D: 4th & 5th spines longest
    C edge regular
    Mycteroperca jordani, Gulf grouper
    gill rakers 21-26
    pectoral 16-18
  • gold or grey + dense brown spots
    sometimes 10-12 dark bars
    D: 2nd & 3rd spines longest
    C edge regular
    Mycteroperca olfax, Bacalao grouper, Sailfin grouper
    preopercle edge notched
  • grey + dark oval blotches and spots
    D: 3rd spine longest
    C: edge saw-like
    Mycteroperca prionura, Sawtail grouper
  • brown spots + dark saddles + pale vertical lines
    rare gold morph
    D: 3rd spine longest
    C border regular
    Mycteroperca rosacea, Leopard grouper
  • body - elongate dark blotches with pale centers
    dark lines radiate from eye
    D: 2nd-7th spines ~ same length
    soft D & A pointed
    C edge saw-toothed
    Mycteroperca xenarcha, Broomtail grouper
    preoperculum corner - angular, strongly serrated
  • large white spots: flank ~ 6, back 2
    C: 3 bars - white, dark, orange
    Paralabrax albomaculatus, Camotillo sand-bass, White-spotted sand-bass
  • head, body & fins: dense orange spots
    D: 3rd spine > 3 times 2nd
    back: 2-3 thin pale stripes
    Paralabrax auroguttatus, Goldspotted sand-bass, Gold-spotted sand-bass
    13-14 gill rakers
  • head & upper body: lines orange spots
    LL whitish, oval whitish blotch under end spiny D
    D: 3rd spine ~ twice 2nd, soft part - convex end
    Paralabrax callaensis, Southern rock-bass, Callao sea-bass
    pectoral base: large dark blotch
    A: spines white
  • forehead: yellow spots
    side head - 3 bars
    back: 2 rows rectangular white blotches
    D spines: 3rd & 4th = twice 2nd
  • orange spots head to tail
    oblique bar under eye
    back - pale oval blotch
    D: 3rd spine twice 2nd; end soft part convex
    Paralabrax humeralis, Peruvian rock-bass
    pectoral 17-19, straight lower margin
  • head: orange spots & lines
    tail base & fins: orange & brown spots
    body - ~ 7 long bars
    D: 3rd spine 3 times 2nd
    Paralabrax loro, Parrot rock-bass, Parrot sand-bass
    lower gill rakers 17
  • head, body & fins - dense dark spots
    oblique bar - eye to lower corner operculum
    ~ 6 indistinct bars on body
    spots form dark lines on lower body
    D: 3rd spine 3 times 2nd
    Paralabrax maculatofasciatus, Spotted sand-bass
    lower gill rakers 13-15
  • body: dark blotches & faint dark bars
    dark oblique bar: eye to operculum
    D: 3rd spine > twice 2nd
    Paralabrax nebulifer, Barred sand-bass
  • pink/red
    C red, yellow border, angular tips
    Pronotogrammus multifasciatus, Threadfin bass, Speckled bass
    pectoral just reaches A origin
    pelvic - very long ray
  • short wide flap over eye
    body: brown + pale blotches; no dark lines
    Pseudogramma axelrodi, Axelrod's reef-bass
    pectoral: 17-18
  • long thin flap over eye
    body: thin dark lines
    Pseudogramma thaumasia, Black-spot reef-bass, Pacific reef-bass
    white bar on cheek
    pectoral: 16-17
  • body & fins dark + dispersed pale spots
    juv: 3 stripes/ocelli on body
    D: III
    Rypticus bicolor, Mottled soapfish, Cortez soapfish
    chin pointed, tip fleshy
    preopercle and lower jaw - patches of small pores
  • tan, cream spots upper body & operculum, fins dark
    juv: spotted, fins white edges, dark lines behind eye
    D: II
    Rypticus courtenayi, Socorro soapfish, Revillagigedos soapfish
    chin rounded, no fleshy tip
    preopercle and lower jaw - evenly spread small pores
  • dense small pale spots, each with dark center dot
    juv: yellow D&A base; C - yellow stripes
    D: II
    Rypticus nigripinnis, Twice-spotted soapfish, Blackfin soapfish
    snout short
    chin - no fleshy tip
    preopercle and lower jaw - 4 large pores
  • short snout
    large eyes
    body - 6 bars, 2nd with dark blotch on LL
    C concave
    Serranus aequidens, Deepwater serrano
    opercle - large dark blotch
    lower gill rakers 16
  • large eye
    C: black + white bar
    Serranus huascarii, Flag serrano, Peruvian serrano
    purple blotch over anus
  • body ~ 8 dark bars or dark stripe
    belly: row large spots
    Serranus psittacinus, Barred serrano, Banded serrano
    11-12 lower gill rakers
  • red + 2 rows ~ 6 pearl blotches - back & belly
    Serranus socorroensis, Socorro serrano
  • red
    karge black blotch under soft D
    mid-side: row black spots
    Serranus stilbostigma, Side-blotch serrano
    belly: oblique white bar
  • head red-brown
    body: ~ 8 red & yellow bars
    Cocos Is
    Serranus tico, Cocos serrano