Centropristis Striata, commonly known as Black Sea Bass, is a type of aquatic species with ray fins belonging to the family Serranidae and, subsequently, Serranidae, which further encompasses groupers. Over 475 species comprise the family, most of which are renowned commercial and recreational fish. Whereas the species in its entirety is often referred to as “sea bass,” the fish separately have a range of designations. 

Patterned environments are associated with the presence of Black Sea Bass. Mostly in autumn, they move offshore and southward, and in the springtime, they move back near the coast and northward to coastal regions and beaches.

Featured Image Credit: Erickson Smith


The body of the Black Sea Bass is lengthy and squashed horizontally. Although the Black Sea Bass is typically black in color, it could occasionally be seen in smaller species as a darkish brown or charcoal color. Compared to their colorful rear ends and tails, they possess whitish stomachs. Their fins feature shady, darkish markings which extend along the length of their bodies in bands. White specks are indeed observed on their fins.

Black Sea Bass is typically black or dark brown, charcoal color
Black Sea Bass is typically black or dark brown, charcoal color

Credit:  Robert Aguilar, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Steadily growing, Black Sea Bass can reach up to 2-2.5 ft and weigh around 9 lbs. They have a long, 10-dorsal fin with a spike at the tip. The Black Sea Bass features prominent frontal and pelvic fins. Their mouths are broad and curled downwards. This fish displays teeth along the mandible and a cluster of molars located at the entrance to its mouth whenever it expands its jaws. 


As a predatory creature, Black Sea Bass eat a wide variety of prey, including tiny fish, shellfish, crustaceans, shrimp, mollusks, worms, and barnacles. They depend on ocean circulation to carry themselves toward food and are particularly prominent during daylight hours. To catch their prey, they use their bent mouths.

They are avaricious eaters and, therefore, will typically consume everything that is introduced to them and could fit in their jaws. In their natural environment, they typically hunt by prowling among the cracks and ambushing their target swiftly. Because they mix in with their surroundings, their pigmentation serves as camouflage, keeping them hidden from the prey’s eyes.


The Black Sea Bass is a common saltwater species found in North America, particularly in the Atlantic Ocean. Its distribution extends all the way out towards the Gulf of Mexico, as well as in Canadian coastlines. The resilient deep-water habitats that these sea basses prefer to live in include corals, oyster beds, as well as wreck sites.

Black Sea Bass are saltwater species commonly found in the North Atlantic Ocean
Black Sea Bass are saltwater species commonly found in the North Atlantic Ocean

Credit: Greg McFall, NOAA

Although they have been spotted as deep as 400 feet, they normally reside at depths of about 10 ft. Black Sea Basses are migratory fish that travel in accordance with their preference for warmer temperatures. As the seasons change, fish in the northern Atlantic Ocean frequently migrate. They relocate to estuaries and shallower coastlines as the weather becomes hotter, then they relocate further as the weather cools in the autumn.


Black Sea Bass are hermaphroditic species, which means that certain of the bigger females initially start off as males before switching back to females. This sex change is typically brought on by a dearth of suitable males in the reproductive population.

Black Sea Bass mature sexually between 1-3 years old after a very slow development period. In the intertidal zone, the breeding season starts between January and July. Each of the male territories is filled with a group of female partners, which are carefully defended from outsiders. Generally speaking, a female is much more inclined to lay more eggs if she is bigger. Each mating season, they normally generate between 30,000 and half a million eggs.


The natural predators of the Black Sea Bass include a variety of species that are simply larger than it. Some predators are sharks, dogfish, spotted hakes, flounder, and a few other species. In terms of human intervention, the Black Sea Bass has maintained a well-distributed population due to the fact that it’s an important commercial fish that gets harvested, and there are legal protocols about its fishing.

As a commercial fish, Black Sea Bass has a well-distributed population
As a commercial fish, Black Sea Bass has a well-distributed population

Credit: Eric Heupel

Facts about the Black Sea Bass

  1. Black Sea Bass are hermaphroditic species.
  2. Black Sea Bass like to inhabit wreck sites.
  3. Black Sea Bass are able to produce sounds from their swim bladders.
  4. Black Sea Bass have a biological mechanism that detects male and female availability.
  5. There are two types of Black Sea Bass, mid-Atlantic and south-Atlantic.


Why does Black Sea Bass change sexes?

Most Black Sea Bass are born female, although some alter their sex when they reach the age of 2-5 years old. Although the exact reason for the sex change is unknown, some empirical proof points to a paucity of males in a nearby reproductive population as a potential culprit. After sea bass has finished spawning, the shift takes place in the fall and winter.

Why does Black Sea Bass make a grunting noise?

Large swim bladders of sea bass allow them to make minor roars and growling sounds. Although the vibrations are generated to fend off would-be predators, they are also related to aggressive feeding. The noise is meant to be a deterrent, as to back off the individuals of the same species from encroaching on a marked prey.

How long does Black Sea Bass live?

Black sea basses can live as long as twelve years for typical males, but only eight years for typical females. Yet, it has been reported that this species can only survive without human intervention for a maximum of 2 decades. If they were not threatened by predators or food shortages, they might be able to live longer.

Is Black Sea Bass a threatened species?

The official designation marks the Black Sea Bass as one of the least threatened species of fish, and this isn’t by natural selection due to commercial harvesting of the fish. The population is ever-expanding due to the demand for the fish.

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