Centropristis philadelphica

Super Group: 
Linnaeus 1758
Perca philadelphica (Linnaeus, 1758)


Diagnosis_Genus: Centropristis Cuvier. All Centropristis have the characters of the Serrants, except that they lack canines, and that all their teeth are of velvet. Thus, their preopercle is serrated, and their thorny operculum. The United States has one which becomes large enough, and whose caudal in its youth is trilobed; it is their Black Perch (Centropristis nigricans, Nob.) Corphoena nigrescens, Bl. Schn., Cuv. et Val., III, pl. XLIV. It is of a blackish brown.

Diagnosis_Species: Perca philadelphica Linnaeus. P. pinnis dorsalibus connatis: radiis XI spinosis, IX muticis. D. I/2 I/0. P. 16. V. 6. A. 3/8. C. II. Habitat in America.

Other description (Miller, 1959): Dorsal X, 1 1 ; anal III, 7; caudal 17; pelvic I, 5; pectoral usually 18 (15-20); vertebrae usually 24 [17], rarely 22 or 23; pyloric caecae 6 [4]. Scales large, 7 or 8 — 47 (46-49) — 17 to 20 (15-22); small scales at base of soft dorsal membranes in single rows, scales at base of anal membranes in single rows extending one-half or less the length of membranes; caudal membranes scaled one-third to one-half of length from base; pectorals scaled only near base; pelvic rays finely scaled on underside for one-third length from base; predorsal rows usually 13-16 (11-19). Total gill rakers plus tubercles usually 19-21 (17-22), lower limb about 13; gill rakers long and slender at center of arch, grading evenly to small tubercles at ends of arch. Body robust, back elevated less than in C. striatus. Head length usually 38-41 (35-43). Head large, not as deep as in C. striatus, little compressed. Opercle drawn out into thin flap; middle opercular spine well developed, lower rather poorly developed, and upper barely visible. Top of head, suborbital, maxillary, lower jaw and snout naked; cheek with small scales in 9-11 rows; opercle with larger scales in 8 or 9 rows. Orbit usually 9-11 (7-13), about 4 in head. Eye longer than deep. Upper jaw usually 17-19 (16-21); mouth large, terminal; lower jaw projecting slightly beyond tip of upper. Teeth in jaws in bands, outer and inner teenth slightly to moderately enlarged, though none can be called canines; teeth only slightly depressible; patch on vomer V-shaped, patch on palatines long and narrow. Nares very close to eye, anterior naris with large dermal flap. Posterior border of preopercle finely serrate, serrae on ventral border and at angle of preopercle somewhat larger and farther apart. Branchiostegals 7. Dorsal spines moderate, first three evenly graduated; first about onehalf as long as second; third about as long as fourth, one or the other being longest in fin; following spines decrease in length to tenth, which is shorter than first dorsal ray; spines with fleshy filaments attached to tips, filaments in large specimens often as long as spines; emargination between spinous and soft parts of dorsal moderate; soft dorsal short, high; longest ray 17-37, large males with noticeably higher fins; pectoral long, usually 25-28 (22-29), posterior margin nearly truncate, rounded at angles, more so below than above; pelvic long, pointed, usually 20-22 (19-24), seldom reaching anus; outer angle in front of lower pectoral angle; anal spines graduated, second spine somewhat shorter and stouter than third; soft anal short, high; fourth to seventh rays longest, usually 16-18 (15-29), mature males with obviously longer rays; caudal in small specimens rounded, sometimes with upper rays slightly produced; middle rays also somewhat produced in medium-size ( approx. 100 mm.) specimens, large specimens distinctly three lobed, with upper and middle lobes greatly produced; longest ray 21-57, mature males with much longer rays.

Body_adult_max_length: 300 mm (Halvorson, 2009)
Body_adul_common_length: 25 cm (Bassfishingteacher)


Centropristis: Greek, kentron = sting + Greek, pristis = saw

Type species

The type species of the genus Centropristis is Centropristis nigricans (Cuvier, 1829).


Centropristis philadelphica lives in Western Atlantic: North Carolina to Palm Beach in Florida and northern Gulf of Mexico in the USA (Fishbase).
In the Atlantic, Centropristis philadelphicus is found from Cape Henry, Virginia, in the north to Palm Beach, Florida, in the south. In the Gulf it is limited to the waters between Brownsville, Texas, and Cape Haze, Florida. Although it occurs frequently in deep water, philadelphicus is very common in shallow water at times and has been known to enter harbors, bays, and shallow brackish lakes (Miller, 1959).

Substrate: water
Salinity: marine
Depth: 3-243 m (IUCN)
Depth_common: 0-100 m (IUCN)
Oxygen_level: oxic
Temperature: 9-26°C (Inaturalist)
Depth_egg: demersal (Bassfishingteacher)

Life cycle

Spawning occurs offshore between February and July (peak April-May) off North Carolina and from late March to May in the Gulf of Mexico (Halvorson, 2009).
Its longevity is three years (IUCN).

Longevity: 1 to 3 years (IUCN)
Generation_time: 1 to 3 years (IUCN)
Reproduction_mode: sexual_hermaphrodite_protogynous
Fertility_period: seasonal (during spring, between February and July, Halvorson, 2009)
Spawning_method: external fertilization in the water column
Fecondity_number_of_eggs_per_adult: 1,739 to 36,294 eggs (IUCN)


Feeding behaviour


Mode of locomotion

Motility: motile_swimming

Observation site(s)


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Association with... Region origin Name of site In reference...
Amyloodinium ocellatum Gulf Coast Research Laboratory