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Sandperches

(Pinguipedidae)

Grey Mullets Combtooth Blennies

Sandperches are a family of small to medium sized fish, generally ranging between 12 and 28cm, with a few species slightly smaller or larger than this. Sandperches have long bodies which are flattened toward the rear and more rounded towards the head. They have long dorsal fins and the head is pointed, with the eyes positioned near the top of the head. The body is usually patterned with spots and bands and most species have distinctive patterns.

Sandperches live on the seafloor and can normally be found over sand or rubble close to the coral reef. These fish feed on small invertebrates, crabs, shrimp and small fish, and tend to sit on the sea bed with their bodies propped up by their pelvic fins.

Sandperches are protogynous hermaphrodites. This means that as juveniles they begin life as females. As they mature, they can change sex to male, and this often goes along with some changes in colour or body patterns. After changing sex, the new male dominates a harem of females and is teritorial. When a male leaves an area, he is replaced by a female, who changes sex and takes over the harem and teritory.

2 species found on this page.

Speckled Sandperch

Parapercis hexophtalma

Speckled Sandperch (Parapercis hexophtalma) @ Koh Haa

Parapercis hexophtalma @ Koh Haa

The Speckled Sandperch has a generally white body with a slightly greyish back and many dark lines, spots and speckles on the body. The dorsal fin has several rows of small dark spots and there is a large dark blotch on the tail.

The female has a spotted face, and the male has dark wavy lines on the cheeks.

The Speckled Sandperch has a generally white body with a slightly greyish back and many dark lines, spots and speckles on the body.

The dorsal fin has several rows of small dark spots and there is a large dark blotch on the tail. The female has a spotted face, and the male has dark wavy lines on the cheeks.

The Speckled Sandperch grows to 28 cm and is territorial. This species begins as female and changes sex to male later in life, defending a harem of females.

Latticed Sandperch

Parapercis clathrata

The Latticed Sandperch grows to 17 cm and has a greyish to tan back with dark blotches. The middle and lower body is white, with a row of brown or dark orange spots with dark centers along the lower body.

Latticed Sandperch (Parapercis clathrata) @ Koh Haa

Female Parapercis clathrata @ Koh Haa

Adults have a yellow or white streak on the tail, and adult males have a dark ocellated spot above the gill cover.

Latticed Sandperch (Parapercis clathrata) @ Koh Haa

Male Parapercis clathrata @ Koh Haa

Both juveniles and adults have tiny black spots on the cheeks.

Latticed Sandperch (Parapercis clathrata) @ Koh Haa

Latticed Sandperches have Dark Spots on the Cheek

Find Out More: Marine Life References and Further Information

Diving with Sandperches

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