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Sea Perch; Black-banded

Sea Perch; Black-banded

Hypoplectrodes nigrorubrum

The Serranidae is one of the largest families of fishes, with more than 400 species worldwide.  The black-banded sea perch is the most frequently observed sea perch in southern Australia.  They are a slow moving, benthic, reef-associated species.  They have four characteristic broad dark stripes down the body, with the last of these at the base of the tail.  The background colour is highly variable from pink, red, green, brown and white, with the red form often dominating.  Juvenile black-banded sea perch have a distinct white stripe on the snout.  The species have large eyes positioned on the top of the head, which swivel to follow movements.  They grow to a maximum length of 28 centimetres.

A solitary species, the black-banded sea perch inhabit shallow coastal reefs to offshore to depths of 35 metres.  They are often seen in the open but also inhabit areas on the benthos where there are rocks, debris, holes and caves where they rest upon the substrate perched on their pectoral and ventral fins lying in wait for their prey to pass.  Black-banded sea perch are active predators, feeding on a variety of small fishes.  Similarly with other species in the family Serranidae, the black-banded sea perch are protogynous hermaphrodites, where they first mature as females, then after spawning one or more times, they will then change sex, spawning thereafter as males.  They occur from Kalbarri, WA to The Entrance, NSW and northern Tasmania.

Occurrence at the Busselton Jetty: 

The black-banded sea perch is commonly observed from the underwater observatory, where it will rest for periods of time upon their pectoral and ventral fins before swimming  to a new location a short distance away.  The species don’t seem to favour any particular substrate, whether it be amongst the rubble on the seafloor, vertically on the invertebrate covered jetty piles or on the algae covered debris.

Image by: O.Rynvis