Tag: Sandperches (Pinguipedidae)

The Sandperches (sometimes known as Grubfish) belong to the family Pinguipedidae, which consists of anywhere between 60 - 80 species (this varies between references) contained within 7 genera.

Of the 7 separate genera within the family, the vast majority belong to the genus Parapercis, and it is from this genus that locally occurring species most likely belong.

Sandperches, as the name suggests, are quintessential Benthic species, living and feeding entirely on areas with sand/gravel/silt substrates, and can be found at depths ranging from 5 - 40m+ at all of the diving/snorkelling sites in the area.

Sandperches, in common with many fish species, are protogynous hermaphrodites meaning, they begin life as females before changing sex to become male as they mature.

They generally live in small, scattered groups with one male associated with a "harem" of females.

For their small size (maximum local species length is approximately 25cm), they are incredibly bold and inquisitive, showing very little fear of divers.

Wherever they occur, the easiest way to find a few individuals is simply to rest on the bottom for a few moments and wait. It is almost certain that within a minute or two, the first Sandperch will approach!

Their boldness when approaching divers is probably far less to do with curiosity, and more related to an awareness that large marine creatures tend to disturb the bottom, thereby uncovering quantities of the small invertebrates they feed upon.

The Sandperches (sometimes known as Grubfish) belong to the family Pinguipedidae, which consists of anywhere between 60 - 80 species (this varies between references) contained within 7 genera.

Of the 7 separate genera within the family, the vast majority belong to the genus Parapercis, and it is from this genus that locally occurring species most likely belong.

Sandperches, as the name suggests, are quintessential Benthic species, living and feeding entirely on areas with sand/gravel/silt substrates, and can be found at depths ranging from 5 - 40m+ at all of the diving/snorkelling sites in the area.

Sandperches, in common with many fish species, are protogynous hermaphrodites meaning, they begin life as females before changing sex to become male as they mature.

They generally live in small, scattered groups with one male associated with a "harem" of females.

For their small size (maximum local species length is approximately 25cm), they are incredibly bold and inquisitive, showing very little fear of divers.

Wherever they occur, the easiest way to find a few individuals is simply to rest on the bottom for a few moments and wait. It is almost certain that within a minute or two, the first Sandperch will approach!

Their boldness when approaching divers is probably far less to do with curiosity, and more related to an awareness that large marine creatures tend to disturb the bottom, thereby uncovering quantities of the small invertebrates they feed upon.

Alan's picture
Yellow-Bar Sandperch (Parapercis Xanthozona) - Male

If the reference material is to be believed, this photo of the ever-curious Yellow-Bar Sandperch (Parapercis Xanthozona) MUST be a male due to the presence of the diagonal lines on its cheeks.

Alan's picture
Yellow-Bar Sandperch (Parapercis Xanthozona) - Female

Another photo of what i assume to be the female Yellow-Bar Sandperch (Parapercis Xanthozona) due to the lack of characteristic diagonal lines on the cheek which are a characteristic of the male.

Alan's picture
Yellow-Bar Sandperch (Parapercis Xanthozona) - Female

One of the best photo subjects around, the Yellow-Bar Sandperch (Parapercis Xanthozona) does not hesitate to boldly approach a diver who is laying still on the bottom.

Based on reference material stating that the male has characteristic diagonal lines on the cheek, the assumption is, that the individual in this photo is a female.

Alan's picture
Black-Fin Sandperch (Parapercis Snyderi)

This is the best profile shot of what i now believe could be a Black-Fin Sandperch (Parapercis Snyderi).

Although i have seen photos showing this species with much darker bands on the upper body, there also appears to be a paler variation, very similar to this.