Pirate Perch
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Top view adult.
  • Bottom view adult.
  • Head-on view adult.
  • Close-up flank.
  • Close-up head.
  • Close-up mouth and snout.
  • Close-up tail.
  • Close-up dorsal fin.
  • Close-up anal fin.
  • Close-up pectoral fin.
  • Close-up pelvic fin.
  • The sides show a solid dark color and a single dorsal fin.
  • Close-up dorsal fin: The dorsal fin is single-lobed with 2-3 spines and 10-11 rays.
  • Belly view: The anus is located just posterior to the opercles, well forward of the pelvic fins.
  • Juveniles are similar to adults, except for the position of the anus.
  • Belly view of a juvenile: The anus is just in front of the anal fin, posterior to the pelvic fin origin.
  • Alternative view of the caudal region.
DescriptionSimilar Species
Pirate perches (Aphredoderidae)
Mouth and snout: Terminal and oblique mouth with minute teeth on jaws. No barbels. Body patterning, color, and scales: A solid color of dark olive, dark brown, or purplish black, with a yellowish, cream, or white belly. Faint bars below eye and at base of tail. Fins darkly pigmented. 48-59 cycloid lateral scales. Body shape and size: Body fusiform and deep, somewhat laterally compressed; oval in cross section. Typically 50-100 mm (2-4 in) TL; maximum about 125 mm (5 in).
Tail, dorsal and other fins: Rounded tail. Single dorsal fin with 2-3 spines and 10-11 rays. Pelvic fins thoracic. Adipose fin absent. Anal fin with 2-3 spines and 6-7 rays.
Distinguishing Characteristics
The pirate perch can distinguished by its single dorsal fin with one lobe and 2-3 spines. See also similar species information.
Breeding Adults
Generally similar to non-breeders, but breeding males sometimes with more pronounced blackish heads and purplish tinges.
Similar to adults, except that anus (urogential pore) is located in the “normal” position just forward of the anal fin. In adults the anus is located forward of the pelvic fins, in the thoracic region (photos).
Compare Similar Species
Dorsal Fin
Bass, RockTwo distinct lobes with 10 or more spines
Perch, PirateSingle dorsal fin with one lobe and 2-3 spines
WarmouthTwo distinct lobes with 10 or more spines
Similarity Index
Bass, RockModerately similar
Perch, PirateN/A
WarmouthModerately similar