(page 389)


Table of Contents

The sea basses are an extremely numerous tribe of perchlike fishes, with both the spiny portion and the soft rayed portion of the dorsal fin well developed, either as separate fins, or at least divided by a deep notch. The ventral fins are under the pectorals, technically thoracic, in position. The anal fin is nearly or quite as long as the soft part of the dorsal; the caudal peduncle is deep and the tail is broad. In most of the species the anal fin is preceded by 3 stout spines; the margin of the gill cover bears one or two sharp conical spines in most, and the maxillary bone is not sheathed nor hidden by the preorbital bone when the mouth is closed. Smoother cheeks are a ready field mark to distinguish any of the sea basses from the rockfish family (p. 430); the 3 anal fin spines distinguish them from the croaker family (p. 417) which have 1 or 2 anal spines only; the spiny gill cover from the porgy family (p. 411); and the large mouth from the cunner and tautog tribe (p. 473).

1. There is one continuous dorsal fin, its front part spiny, its rear part soft rayed 3  
There are two separate dorsal fins, the first spiny, the second soft-rayed 2  
2. The two dorsal fins are separated by a distinct inter-space; the sides are distinctly striped Striped bass, p. 389
The two dorsal fins are joined at their bases; the sides are not distinctly striped White perch, p. 405
3. The scales are large; the space between the eyes is naked; no bony ridge on the gill covers Sea bass, p. 407
The scales are small; the space between the eyes is scaly; there is a bony ridge on the gill covers Wreckfish, p. 409