Holocentrus adscensionis

Common Name


Year Described

Osbeck, 1765


Dorsal Fin: XI, 14-16
Anal Fin: IV, 10
Pectoral Fin: 15-17
Lateral Line Scales: 46-51
Vertebrae: 27 (total)
Gill Rakers: 15-18 (lower)

Body oval with a flattened ventrum and convex dorsal profile. Head with small serrations on suborbital but no strong spines. Snout pointed with a convex frontal profile. Eye large. Preopercle serrated with a strong spine at the angle. Opercle with 1 strong spine and additional serrations on margin. Mouth moderate; reaching middle of orbit. Rear dorsal, anal, and caudal fins very elongate and pointed. Spiny and soft dorsal fin broadly connected. Third anal spine strong. Upper caudal lobe longer. Scales obvious.


Body bright red, pinkish, or silvery with darker stripes parallel to scale rows. Head bright red with a V-shaped white marking running along the preopercle to the maxilla. Usually has a conspicuous red saddle under soft dorsal bordered by white areas. Eye dark red with blue ring. Spiny dorsal fin mostly yellow with some white on the membranes. All other fins translucent pink with some opaque white at the anterior margin. Anal and pelvic fins with white anterior margins.


The largest Atlantic holocentrid; maximum size to 45cm SL


Inhabits a wide variety of reef habitats, to over 200m depth.


North Carolina to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.


McEachran, J.D. and J.D. Fechhelm. 1998. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico. Volume 1: Myxiniformes to Gasterosteiformes. University of Texas Press, Austin. i-viii + 1-1112.