The basic color of the is dark brown or black, and the dorsal fin has rows of white on black stripes. Large males may have iridescent blue and ebony markings and a fatty hump in front of the dorsal fin, while females may have indistinct vertical barings. The topmost ray of the caudal fin is much elongated in adults and may be tri-lobed. A sharp spine is located near the posterior margin of gill cover.
Black sea bass are structure-loving fish and are associated with reefs and rubble found offshore. Smaller specimens are often found inshore in finger channels.
These fish spawn January through March and are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning older females becoming breeding males. Black sea bass are omnivorous bottom feeders, and their diet includes small fish, crustaceans, and shellfish.
Credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Image Credit: Diane Rome Peebles