Greater Sand Perch, Torpedo Sand Perch
Serrano de Altura
(Diplectrum maximum)

Greater Sand Perch, Diplectrum maximum: The Greater Sand Perch is the largest of the nine sand perches found in Mexican waters and reported to reach 37 cm (14.6 inches) in length which is a full 2.5 inches longer than the second largest sand perch. We have collected a fish that was 40.2 cm (15.8 inches) extending the known maximum length for this species.

The Greater Sand Perch has an elongated body with the upper two-thirds of the head and body being dark grey-brown. The belly is white. A key to identification of the Greater Sand Perch is that the angle of the preoperculum is a narrow, round pointed bony spur with four to eight large spines. There is a large dark blue-gray blotch on the upper edge of the operculum and the second and third dorsal spines are of equal length.

This fish species is found at depths of between 10 and 400 feet in the water column over sandy and muddy bottoms. As it is a relatively small, rare, and deep water species, not much is known about its behavior.

The Greater Sand Perch can be easily confused with the Orange Spotted Sand Perch, Diplectrum eumelum (orange spots on checks, wide spur), the Bighead Sand Perch, Diplectrum euryplectrum (dark stripe along the base of the rayous portion of dorsal fin), or the Highfin Sand Perch, Diplectrum labrum (four double dark bars on sides).

Distribution in Mexico fishing areas

The Greater Sand Perch is found in all Mexican fishing waters with the exception that it is absent from the Sea of Cortez and from around Mexico's oceanic islands. It is considered to be an excellent food fish and is sold commercially.

It is a member of the Serranidae Family which includes perches, groupers and sea basses.

Greater Sand Perch picture

Greater Sand Perch picture

Greater Sand Perch, Juvenile, Diplectrum maximum: Caught by the commercial fishermen of the greater Los Cabos area, B.C.S., Mexico, in May 2011. Length 17 cm (6.7 inches). Uniquely marked and most notable is the dark spot at the front of the dorsal fin and that the preoperculum spine is more rounded than the one found in the adults. Description and photos courtesy of John Snow.

 Greater Sand Perch fish picture 1

Greater Sand Perch, Diplectrum maximum: Donated to Mexfish.com by the commercial pangueros Mexican fishermen of Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, Mexico, December 2007. Size, 12 inches. Fish identification courtesy H.J. Walker, Jr., Scripps Institute of Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif. Description and photo courtesy of John Snow.

 Greater Sand Perch fish picture 2

 Greater Sand Perch fish picture 3

 Greater Sand Perch fish picture 4

Greater Sand Perch, Diplectrum maximum: Caught during fishing with Capt. Pata in the panga Salome, in 72-degree, 200-foot deep water, in January 2008, utilizing standard bottom gear and a live sardine bait, 25 miles north of La Playita, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Size: approximately: 13 inches. Note the unique coloration versus the fish above and the orange head spots. Identification courtesy of H.J. Walker, Jr., Scripps Institute of Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif. Photos courtesy of John Snow.

Greater Sand Perch fish picture 5

Greater Sand Perch, Diplectrum maximum: Provided during fishing by the commercial fishermen of the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur, Mexico, in January 2010. Size 36 cm. Appears to have been fat and sassy at the time of collection despite its major deformity. Description and photos courtesy of John Snow.

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