Diplectrum formosum (Linnaeus, 1766)
Sand perch
photo by Johnson, L.

Family:  Serranidae (Sea basses: groupers and fairy basslets)
Max. size:  30 cm TL (male/unsexed)
Environment:  reef-associated; marine; depth range 1 - 80 m
Distribution:  Western Atlantic: North Carolina, USA, the northern Gulf of Mexico and the Bahamas southward to Uruguay. Occurrence in western Caribbean is doubtful (Ref. 26938).
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 10-10; Dorsal soft rays (total): 12-12; Anal spines: 3-3; Anal soft rays: 7-8. Body pale brown dorsally with several vertical dark brown bars, becoming white ventrally; dorsal fin dusky with longitudinal yellow lines; pectoral, pelvic and anal fins dusky; caudal fin dusky with small yellow blotches (Ref. 13608). Preopercle has spines radiating from 2 centers (Ref. 26938).
Biology:  Inhabits bays, coastal grassy areas and shallow banks. Solitary (Ref. 26340) and retreats into shelter when frightened (Ref. 9710). Neither opercular spine nor anterolateral glandular grooves with venom gland is present (Ref. 57406). Synchronously hermaphroditic. Popular as a pan fish despite its small size.
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 21 August 2012 Ref. (126983)
Threat to humans:  harmless

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