Serranus subligarius

Common Name

Belted Sandbass

Year Described

Cope, 1870


Dorsal Fin: X, 12-14
Anal Fin: III, 7
Pelvic Fin: I, 5
Pectoral Fin: 15-17
Lateral Line Scales: 42-46
Gill Rakers: 15-19
Vertebrae: 10 precaudal, 14 caudal; 24 total

Serranus defined by Robins & Starck (1961) with the following set of characters. Supramaxilla absent. Maxilla not covered by lachrymal. Premaxillary with a dorsal expansion. Teeth present on dentary, premaxilla, vomer, and palatine. Preopercle serrated. Opercle with three spines. Dorsal fin continuous. Caudal fin with 17 principal rays. Branchiostegal rays number 7. Snout, jaw area, and brachiostegal area naked. Scales encroach on bases of median fin membranes. Lateral line arched and continuous.


Body reddish brown with a white spot on each scale center forming a bold reticulated pattern on the entire body. The color pales and darkens to form indistinct bands on the forebody and almost black bands on the posterior half of the body. There are up to four posterior black bars, the first of which is the largest and extends onto the dorsal fin on the junction between the soft and spiny portion. These bars can be reduced in intensity with younger age, and often the dorsal blotch and a pair of caudal peduncles blotches are the only areas that are black. The head is heavily spotted with orange-brown and a single dark stripe passes from snout to orbit. A triangular white area is present on belly that contrasts with the rest of the body. Dorsal, caudal, and anal fins with a dense spotting of red-brown. Pelvic fin with a white anterior border and blackish adjacent area. Eye white with a brown cross-band.


Robins, C.R. & W.A., Starck II. 1961. Materials for a revision of Serranus and related fish genera. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia v. 113 (no. 11): 259-314.