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Related FAQs: Basses of the genus Serranus,

Related Articles: Basses, The Atlantic Chalk Bass by Adam Jackson,

/A Diversity of Aquatic Life

The Basses of the Genus Serranus

Bob Fenner

 Serranus tigrinus

Species/Notes of Interest to Aquarists:

The twenty-five species of "Dwarf Seabasses" that make up the genus Serranus have much to offer the home aquarist. They're all small, and many are exceedingly beautiful. Many biotopic presentations of the tropical west Atlantic would be incomplete without one member IMO. And... there is an Eastern Pacific species as well!

Serranus annularis (Gunther 1880), the Orangeback Bass. Rocky reef areas in the tropical west Atlantic. To three and a half inches in length. Generally occurs in pairs in the wild. Aquarium image.

Serranus baldwini (Evermann & Marsh 1899), the Lantern Bass. Tropical West Atlantic. To three inches in length. Square blotches on the lower part of the body and four prominent black dots on the caudal peduncle. Aquarium photos at right, Cancun and Cozumel below.

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Serranus psittacinus Valenciennes 1846 (S. fasciatus (Jenyns 1840) is a common synonym. The Barred Serrano. Eastern Pacific; Sea of Cortez to Chile, including Galapagos. To seven inches in length. Two four inch ones, in a fish shop in New Jersey, another at home in the Galapagos!

Verticals (Full/Cover Page Sizes Available)
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Serranus tabacarius (Cuvier 1829), the Tobaccofish. A common offering in the pet fish interest. Also from the tropical west Atlantic. To some eight inches in length. Aquarium and Cozumel pix.

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The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.

Serranus tigrinus (Bloch 1790), the Harlequin Bass. Common in the wild (tropical west Atlantic) and in the aquarium trade. Grows to almost a 4-5 inches std. length in the wild. A juvenile off Cozumel and adult in St. Lucia.

Verticals (Full/Cover Page Sizes Available
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The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.

Serranus tortugarum Longley 1935, the Chalk Bass. Tropical west Atlantic. To three inches in length. Aquarium, Cozumel and Cancun images.

Bibliography/Further Reading:

Chlupaty, Peter. 1977. The harlequin bass. Aquarium Digest International 4(1977), #18.

Lobel, Phil. 1984. Spawning behavior of the harlequin bass. FAMA 7/84.

Michael, Scott. 1996. The dwarf seabasses. Put a little grouper in your tank.

Thresher, Ronald. 1976. Serranus. Marine Aquarist 7:3, 76.


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