Serranus subligarius

Super Group: 
Cope 1870
Centropristis subligarius (Cope, 1870)


Diagnosis_Genus: Serranus Cuvier. Serranus are the species which have, at the same time, serrations at their preoperculum and prickles at their operculum. Bloch and M. de Lacepede had assembled them at the holocentres of Artédi. The Mediterranean sea produces many, the most common of which are confounded under the common names of sea-perch and serran, and are remarkable for the vivacity of their colors, especially at the time of reproduction. A species of the same sea, much larger, and reaching more than three feet, but of a greyish color, is the grouper. Another species, remarkable for its beautiful red color, the length of its ventrals, the forks of its cuadale, especially the inferior, and the third ray of its dorsal fin is the barber (Serranus Anthias) whom Rondelet believed the anthias ancient. The seas of the hot countries produce many serrans, quite varied in size and color.

Diagnosis_Species: Centropristis subligarius Cope. Radii, D. X. 14; A. III. 8. Scales, counted transversaly to vent, 5 1/2-48-18. Median dorsal spines subequal, median anal apressed extending beyond basis of anal fin. Caudal fin truncate behind. Form elongate oval, the head narrow conical, its profile continuous with that of the anterior back together descending regularly from D. I to the end of the acute muzzle. Mandible projecting a little beyond upper lip. Maxillary bone extending to opposite posterior margin of pupil. Operculum with three points, the superior very short. Maxillary smooth; cheeks and operculum scaly, the cheek minutely. Scales ceasing on vertex at a point behind a vertical drawn from the posterior margin of the pupil. Interorbital width .70 of the diameter of the orbit. Latter a little less than length of muzzle, four times in length of head to base of longest spine. Depth at ventral fins 2.75 times in length without caudal fin. Length of head (without opercular flap) 2.66 times in same. The coloration is handsome. Ground chocolate brown, the cheeks interoperculum, mandible and maxillary region with a coarse net-work of white lines. Pectoral region paler, and fading on the belly to a white and then metallic citron yellow, which is bounded abruptly by the ground color behind, at a point a little in advance of the anal fin. The posterior outline rises irregularly half way to the lateral line and then turns forward and descends a short distance behind the pectoral fin. From this patch backwards to the basis of the caudal fin there are five vertical cross-bands, two on the peduncle and two rising from the anal fin. The latter diverge above and another band rises, expanding to the point of junction of the dorsal fins, and spreads in a rounded black spot to their margin. The pectoral and caudal fins are white, with rows of small brown spots, the second dorsal and anal brown with rows of small white spots. Length: 0m075; to basis DI. .026, to basis of anal .044; longest dorsal spine .010; depth caudal peduncle .0095; length do . above .0055. The habitat of this sea perch is the southern coast near Pensacola. It was contained in a bottle with Abastor erythrogrammus, Elaps fulvius, etc. Its zoological affinities are to the C. phoebe of Poey, and other West Indian species; it is one of the most elegant of the genus.

Other description (Bullock & Smith, 1991): Dorsal X, 11-14 (modally 13); anal III, 6-7 (modally 7); pectoral rays 14-17 (modally 16), gill rakers 15-19 (usually 16 or 17).Pored lateral-line scales 42-46. Maximum size 100 mm TL. Body light reddish brown with numerous darker bands; belly white, sharply delimited from surrounding background. Prominent black blotch on a first few soft dorsal rays. Caudal and pectoral fins banded or spotted with brown. Distinctive features of S. subligarius include banded caudal and pectoral fins, the black blotch in the soft dorsal fin joinded to a wedge-shaped dark bar on the body, and the white belly.

Body_adult_max: 100 mm (Bullock & Smith, 1991)
Body_1_year_length: 43.5 mm SL (Hastings & Bortone, 1980)


Serranus: Latin, serran, serranus, saw and a fish of genus Serranus (Fishbase).

Type species

The type species of the genus Serranus is Perca cabrilla (Linnaeus, 1758).

Type illustration / Type locality / Type specimen

Type locality: Pensacola, Florida


Serranus subligarius lives in Western Atlantic: North Carolina to Florida (rare in Keys) and Texas, USA. Reported from Mexico and Cuba (Fishbase).
Serranus subligarius probably moved offshore from shallow-water habitats (jetties) in the northeastern Gulf during winter when water temperatures were lowest and returned in spring as temperatures ameliorated. We have no knowledge of seasonal migrations in the central eastern Gulf. However, S. subligarius was found to be relatively cold-hardy at reefs 18 m deep off Tampa Bay, Florida, during a record cold period in January 1977, when bottom water temperatures were recorded as low as 11.6°C (Bullock & Smith, 1991)

Habitat: coastal
Substrate: water
Salinity: marine
Oxygen_level: oxic
Depth_adult: demersal (Fishbase)
Depth_egg: pelagic (Fishbase)
Depth: 1-20 m (IUCN)
Depth_egg: buoyant (Clark, 1959)
Temperature: 18-25°C (laquariumdeposeidon)

Life cycle

In the northeastern Gulf, S. subligarius lives no longer than four or five years and attains a maximum size no larger than 100 mm SL (Bullock & Smith, 19991).
No sexual dimorphism.
The testicular tissue matures ontogenetically prior to the ovarian tissue, typically during the first fall or winter of the fish’s life. The ovarian tissue first matures at the onset of the spawning season in the late winter or early spring of the fish’s first year (Hasting & Bortone, 1980).

Longevity: more than 3 years
Generation time: 3 to 12 months
Reproduction_mode: sexual_hermaphrodite_synchronous
Fertility_period: seasonal (duringspring to summer, during April and June through September, Bullock & Smith, 1991)
Fecondity_number_of_eggs_per_adult: 18 915 oocytes per adult (Bullock & Smith, 1991)
Spawning_method: external fertilization in the water column
Spawning_method: possible self-fertilization (Clark, 1959)

Feeding behaviour


Mode of locomotion

Motility: motile_swimming

Observation site(s)


Displaying 1 - 1 of 1
Association with... Region origin Name of site In reference...
Amyloodinium ocellatum Gulf Coast Research Laboratory