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Rock Sea Bass

Centropristis philadelphica


Illustration of a rock sea bass showing important characteristics
  • Olive-bronze on back, fading to a lighter belly
  • Black blotches form vertical bars on sides
  • Dark black spot near middle of dorsal fin base
  • Tip of lower jaw is purple
  • Head and fins with bright blue and orange markings
  • Adults have tail with three lobes and elongated dorsal filaments
  • Top of head (nape) is fully-scaled

Similar Species: Bank sea bass, C. ocyurus (lack spot near middle of dorsal fin base and nape lacks scales) 

Size: Rarely more than 10 inches in length 


Coastal waters over hard bottom areas; also found near sand or mud bottoms


Spawn January through March. Young adults are predominantly female and transform into males as they grow older.  The maximum size for rock sea bass is about 10 inches.

Additional Information

State Record: This species is not currently eligible for a state record.

Recreational Regulations


Image Credit: © Diane Rome Peebles