Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Dermatolepis dermatolepis, Leather bass

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body deep, very compressed
forehead oblique
bars + pale blotches & dark spots, fin edges yellow
juv: black + many white bars



Dermatolepis dermatolepis (Boulenger, 1895)

Leather Bass

Body deep (deepest at origin of dorsal fin), strongly compressed; snout much longer than eye; forehead profile oblique, steep; rear nostrils 2-3 times larger than front nostrils; preopercle finely serrated; gill rakers on first arch 21-24; dorsal fin with XI spines, 18-20 rays, membranes only slightly notched between spines; anal rays III, 9; pectoral rays 19-20, fins rounded, distinctly longer than pelvics; tail fin with straight edge; body scales smooth.

Grey brown; body with alternating dark grey to blackish and white to light grey bars overlain with numerous white to pale blotches; fin margins narrowly yellow; juveniles black with numerous narrow white bars on head and body and extending onto dorsal and anal fins; tail fin white + black spots.

Size: grows to 100 cm; at least 12.5 kg.

Inhabits rocky and coral reefs, small juveniles may shelter among the long spines of the sea urchins Centrostephanus and Diadema.

Depth: 5-90 m.

Southern California to the central Gulf of California to Ecuador and all the oceanic islands.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Freshwater
  • Rocks
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Corals
  • Reef only
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • East Pacific endemic
Regional Endemism
  • All species
  • Island (s)
  • Continent
  • TEP endemic
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 100
Depth Range Min
  • 5
Depth Range Max
  • 90