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Species: Paralabrax maculatofasciatus, Spotted sand-bass

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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
lower gill rakers 13-15

Paralabrax maculatofasciatus (Steindachner, 1868)

Spotted sand-bass

Body elongate, compressed; body depth 3.0-3.3 in SL; head pointed; mouth large; rear of top jaw exposed when mouth closed, without accessory bone above it; teeth fixed;  roof of mouth with teeth on sides and center; lower gill rakers 13-15; preopercle finely serrated; dorsal X, 13-14,third spine greatly elevated, about three times longer than second; anal rays III, 7;  pectoral 16; pelvics inserted under or slightly behind pectoral base; tail rounded to concave, 13-15 branched rays; scales small, rough; lateral line scales 61-68; rear of top jawbone without scales.

Head and body pale grey,  with numerous small  black, brown, and orange spots, those on lower body in longitudinal rowsy; 6-7 indistinct long dark bars on side of body; an oblique bar from eye to lower corner of operculum; soft dorsal, tail and anal fins densely spotted.Juveniles densely spotted and with a dark line from eye to tail fin; a series of short dark bars along lower body.

Size: attains 58 cm, 3 kg, 10 years.

Inhabits low-profile, often weed-covered, reefs adjacent to sandy bottoms.

Depth: 1-60 m.

Central California to the Gulf of California, most common in the northern Gulf.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Rocks
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Carnivore
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Data
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • East Pacific endemic
  • TEP non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Temperate Eastern Pacific, primarily
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • All species
  • Continent
  • California province, primarily
  • Continent only
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 58
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 60