Hemanthias leptus

Common Name

Longspine Bass

Year Described

Ginsburg, 1952


Dorsal Fin: X, 13-14 (usually 14)
Anal Fin: III, 7-8 (usually 8)
Pelvic Fin: I, 5
Pectoral Fin: 17-20
Lateral Line Scales: 54-62 (tubed)
Gill Rakers: 9-12 in upper, 24-28 in lower limb of first arch; 34-39 total

Moderately deep body, head 30-36% SL, and eye large (6-13% SL). Orbit longer or shorter than snout (5-11% SL). Upper and lower jaws both with conical teeth, including larger canines anteriorly. Vomerine tooth patch chevron-shaped. Tongue without teeth. Anterior nostril without a filament. Rear of head and maxilla covered in scales. Most of snout, interorbital, gular region, maxilla, and surrounding area scaleless. Lateral line continuous. Scales around caudal peduncle 40-46. A slight notch at boundary of spiny and soft dorsal fin. Third dorsal spine elongate (14-46% SL), especially in large fish. Rear dorsal and anals fins pointed. Caudal fin truncate or slightly notched in adult fish, but forked in young fish (no filamentous rays). Pelvic fin very long (24-76% SL).


Rosy red dorsally, grading to whitish below. A yellow sheen on the flanks of fresh specimens. A yellow stripe runs from snout to opercular edge. Fins yellow with rosy pigment basally and small rosy spots. Caudal fin with yellow upper and lower rays.


A large anthiine bass: adults common to 35cm SL. Maximum size to 46cm SL.


Deep reefs or hard bottoms from 35-640m.


North Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico. Also from Venezuela to Suriname. Not known from the Caribbean islands.


Anderson, W. D., Jr. & Heemstra, P. C. 2012. Review of Atlantic and eastern Pacific anthiine fishes (Teleostei: Perciformes: Serranidae), with descriptions of two new genera. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, 102 (2): 1-173.

Heemstra, P.C., Anderson, W.D. Jr., and P.S. Lobel. 2002. Serranidae. In: FAO Species Identification Guide to Fishes of the Western Atlantic. (ed. Carpenter K), pp. 1308–1369. UN FAO Publishers, Rome.