Family Serranidae, SEA BASSES AND GROUPER
Description: basic color dark brown or black; dorsal fin has rows and stripes of white on black; large males have irridescent blue and ebony markings, and fatty hump in front of dorsal fin; females may have indistinct vertical barrings; topmost ray of caudal fin much elongated in adults; caudal may be tri-lobed; sharp spine near posterior margin of gill cover.
Similar Fish: bank sea bass C. ocyurus; other Centropristis.
Where found: structure-loving fish, associated with reefs and rubble OFFSHORE; smaller specimens often found INSHORE finger channels.
Size: common to 1.5 pounds (13 inches).
*Florida Record: 5 lbs., 1 oz.
Remarks: spawns January through March; protogynous hermaphrodites, older females becoming breeding males; omnivorous bottom feeders, diet including small fish, crustaceans, and shellfish.