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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 05, 2021

Black Sea Bass Facts You’ll Never Forget

Here are black sea bass facts about this marine creature

Amongst the most popular fishes, black sea bass (Centropristis striata) is a pretty opportunistic feeder and eats anything that crosses its way. Contrasting from the striped bass, black sea bass is a marine fish and is found primarily in the mid Atlantic Ocean along the coast of North America into the Gulf of Mexico. You can find them around the undersea layouts, looking for shelter near offshore rubble and reefs. Black sea bass taste can be described as mild, fresh, and delicate. The fish has a tender but firm texture which makes it a popular option amongst seafood lovers. Black sea bass world record in terms of weight is 425 lb (192 kg), caught at Catalina Island, California. This species of sea bass draws its name from its appearance, as it is black in color with dusky spots on the fins and white spots, bands, and slender spines on the dorsal fin.

All black sea bass fishes start their life as females, but become males when they reach the age of two to five years. The conservation of black sea bass is overlooked by different divisions of Marine Fisheries. This species is extremely popular with recreational anglers as well as with commercial fisheries. At present, their conservation status is of Least Concern.

Black sea bass are full of interesting and fun facts, which we are going to see in this article. After you read about this fish found near the coast of Atlantic states, you may also look at tilefish facts and lungfish facts.
 

Black Sea Bass Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a black sea bass?

Black sea bass is a long dorsal finned, stout-bodied fish. They have big pelvic and pectoral fins, and are primarily found around the Virginia and North Carolina region. Their fins have a spiny forward area and white spots and bands all over the skin. The tail of the black sea bass is quite round, and possesses a long streamer on the top. As the name suggests, the body is gray or black in the shade, while the scales on the body are white to light blue in color. At the time of spawning, the dominant males transform their shade to bright blue. As for newborns, they are brown with dark stripes running down the body.

What class of animal does a black sea bass belong to?

Black sea bass belong to the actinopterygii class, because of their fins which are webby in nature and aided by bony spines. These class members are also called ray-finned fishes. The fins in these fishes link directly to the basal or proximal skeletal components. It has a large mouth lined with sharp teeth. It is a popular catch amongst recreational fishermen and commercial fisheries.

How many black sea bass are there in the world?

Black sea bass are among the numerous species from the family of serranidae. Most of the species are found in the shallow, and tropical areas of the sea. It includes around 475 species. Among these species, the majority are known widely for sport and fishing activity. These fishes are also known by several names like grays, cony and hamlet.

Where does a black sea bass live?

The adult varieties of the black sea bass have their habitat near the Atlantic Ocean. You can spot them in the Gulf of Maine, all the way to the Florida Keys. The majority of black sea bass migrate north to spend their summers in the waters of New England. Nowadays, black sea bass have pushed themselves towards the Gulf of Maine because of the gradual increase in temperature there. The young black sea bass usually stay in estuaries or backwaters to prevent themselves from predators. Still, the adult ones spend their majority of time around their habitat in shoals, reefs, rock piles, wrecks, and jetties.

What is a black sea bass' habitat?

As per the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, black sea bass habitat includes the irregular hard-bottom locations like reefs and wrecks. You can spot them in Cape Cod to Cape Canaveral. They can also be seen in the western locations of the Atlantic Ocean with other marine fishes and creatures. The juveniles usually colonize in the high-salinity zones of estuaries in the summer seasons.

Who do black sea bass live with?

Being in the ocean world, black sea bass are surrounded by many marine organisms like shrimps, small fishes, clamps and crabs. The plant species that surround it are seagrass, kelps, and phytoplankton.

How long does a black sea bass live?

Black sea bass are kind of fish which can transform themselves into males during their breeding time. Where females have a lifespan of eight years, the males live for up to 12 years.

How do they reproduce?

Giant black sea bass attain maturity at the age of three years. The spawning time in the life of a black sea bass comes from June to October, off the coast of Virginia. This spawning occurs in the ocean. The males gather around the females to fuse and defend their area. The females give birth to around 30,000 to 500,000 eggs during spawning. The newborn enters the bay in either summer, autumn or spring. They stay there until December or January. When in the bay areas, these fishes live on small crustaceans.

What is their conservation status?

As per the data, the population of the black sea bass in the Middle Atlantic Ocean is exploited badly. It is because of the black sea bass being a preferred catch for recreational fishing and commercial fishery activities. Although, spawning season shows that the black sea bass population has been stable, and its conservation status at present is of Least Concern. Though, efforts for their conservation are being lead by different divisions of Marine Fisheries Management through measures such as catch limits, close season, and permits to catch the fish. In recent times, black sea bass have moved north towards the Gulf of Maine due to changes in ocean temperature.

Black Sea Bass Fun Facts

What do peacock bass look like?

The beautiful peacock bass fish is known to be the largest among all bass fishes and most attractive in terms of appearance. It is about 39 in (3.3 ft) in size. It displays a beautiful shade of patterns, including three vertically wide bands on their bodies. The bands may sometimes be small to intermediate in size and range in colors like brown, yellow, green, or gray. What gives them this name is the mark on their tail-fins, which seems like the eyes that appear on peacock feathers. While the juvenile species possess dark horizontal bands on their lower half, the adult male peacock bass owns a nuchal hump on their heads during or before the spawning season. Other physical characteristics may vary widely from one kid of peacock bass to another, like owning rosettes in place of stripes and mild speckles. The dorsal fin has spines which are deeply notched.

A black sea bass has white spots on the dorsal fin.

How cute are they?

With a nice texture and body, black sea bass is ideal for recreational and eating purposes. For a fish lover, they are scaly, attractive, and cute. They are extremely popular amongst recreational anglers who love to catch this species.

How do they communicate?

Black sea bass primarily depend on their vision and hearing senses. They use it to find their prey and grab them. They have an internal otolith. This allows the species to react and listen to sounds from kilometers away. They communicate with their surroundings via tactile, visual, and auditory means. Black sea bass have a large swim bladder which produces thumps and grunting noises.

How big is a black sea bass?

Black sea bass is reported to grow to about 25 in (63 cm) in terms of length and is regarded as a medium-sized fish species.  

How fast can a black sea bass swim?

Black sea bass fishes rely on fast turns due to their webbed fins and bony body structure. This fish can swim at speeds of around 8 mph (12 kmph).  

How much does a black sea bass weigh?

Black sea bass fish can grow to attain a maximum weight of around 9 lb (4 kg). Though, the average weight of the edible black sea bass is around 1-2 lb (0.4-0.9 kg) and most do not grow to be more than 4 lb (1.8 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Because the posterior spine is a bit shorter than the anterior one, the male black bass are called humpbacks. They are also called this because they have a notable hump behind their forehead region. As for female black sea bass, no particular name is given. The females are known to live for up to eight years while males can live for 12 years.

What would you call a baby black sea bass?

The offspring of black sea bass are initially known as larvae. In the later stages, they are known as fry and then fingerlings until they develop into mature and adult black sea bass. The juveniles stay in protected waters till they are big enough to explore the waters on their own.  

What do they eat?

Black sea bass are pure carnivores and feed mainly on shrimps and crabs along with many other small fish, lobsters, barnacles and tunicates. The newborn or the juveniles feed on crustaceans. They also feed on many other epibenthic creatures like mysids with help of their large mouth.

Are they eaten by humans?

Yes, they are eaten by humans. Black sea bass are considered to be very healthy and rich in terms of their meat. It is marketed widely as perfect for frying, baking, grilling or boiling. This is the reason that recreational fishermen prefer black sea bass as their catch.

Would they make a good pet?

Known by the name rock bass or rockfish, the black sea bass is hardly an intelligent and recreational pet choice to put in your aquarium. Though they are pretty responsive while you feed them, and they recognize their feeders quite easily, they are not very playful and active as a pet.

Did you know...

Unlike many other species of bass, they are taken as the true bass of the oceans. Black sea bass is targeted for fishing in the Atlantic ocean this is considered the prime location for northern stock. Another fact is that the larval development in them occurs not in the marine environment but in the backwater region. There are two stock types when it comes to black sea bass which are the southern stock and northern stock. Most black sea bass are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning that they start their life as females, but become males as they grow into adults.

How to cook black sea bass

Black sea bass is a nice meal for humans. The fish makes a mild-flavored dish that is firm yet tender. The raw meat is quite translucent and pale, which turns white when grilled or cooked. The fish is quite versatile in terms of flavors and cooking manner.

Why are black sea bass endangered?

Black sea bass are not Endangered. They are exploited a lot due to various recreational activities in the oceans but are not Extinct or Endangered.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including tetra, or parrot fish.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our black sea bass coloring pages.

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