Psammoperca datnioides Richardson 1848

Iwatsuki, Yukio, Newman, Stephen J., Tanaka, Fumiya & Russell, Barry C., 2018, Validity of Psammoperca datnioides Richardson 1848 and redescriptions of P. waigiensis Cuvier in Cuvier & Valenciennes 1828 and Hypopterus macropterus (Günther 1859) in the family Latidae (Perciformes) from the Indo-West Pacific, Zootaxa 4402 (3), pp. 467-486 : 470-471

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Psammoperca datnioides Richardson 1848


Psammoperca datnioides Richardson 1848

Proposed New English name: Black Sand Bass Fig. 1A View FIGURE 1 , Table 1

Psammoperca datnioides Richardson 1848:116 , pl. 57, figs. 1–2 (type locality: ‘ Australia’ =probably Western Australia, type in BMNH lost)

Psammoperca waigiensis (non Cuvier); Günther 1859:69 (Victoria [= Port Essington], NT, Australia); Günther 1872:426 (Victoria [= Port Essington], NT, Torres Strait, NSW, Australia); Allen & Swainston 1988:62 (northwestern Australia); Paxton et al. 1989:483 (Australia); Randall et al. 1990:88 (Great Barrier Reef, Australia); Allen 1997:98 (tropical Australia); Larson & Williams 1997:354 (Darwin Harbour, NT, Australia); Kuiter 1997:124 (Australia); Randall et al. 1997:88 (Great Barrier Reef, Australia); Larson 1999:2430 (as vaigiensis ; Indo-Australian Archipelago, but Australia, shown as distributional map, presumably considered this species); Johnson 1999:729 (Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia); Hutchins 2001:29 (Western Australia); Allen et al. 2006:968 (Australia).

Neotype. NTM S.16708-077, 138 mm SL, tissue removed (right side), Bullocky Point Reef , Darwin Harbour (Vestey’s Beach boat ramp, Fannie Bay, Darwin, NT, Australia.

Non-type specimens (118‒214 mm SL, n = 26): WAM P.34451-001 204‒214 mm SL (X), Carnarvon Boat Harbour, mouth of Shark Bay , Western Australia ; WAM P.34452-001, 6 specimens, 137‒197 mm SL (X), Shark Bay , Western Australia ; NTM S.10136-001, 201 mm SL, West Woody Reef, Melville, Bay, NT, Australia ; NTM S.11238-001, 207 mm SL, Roche Reef, off Dum In Mirrie Island, NT, Australia ; NTM S.11253-006, 186 mm SL, Table Head, Cobourg Peninsula, NT, Australia ; NTM S.12444-021, 7 specimens, 126‒149 mm SL, Pools south of Settlement, Elcho Island , NT, Australia ; NTM S.12449-003, 206 mm SL, East of 5th Shell Island, Darwin Harbour, NT, Australia ; NTM S.16131-017, 183 mm SL, Raft Point, Bynoe Harbour, NT, Australia ; NTM S.16148-007, 206 mm SL, Point Jenny, Fog Bay, NT, Australia ; NTM S.16708-010, 6 specimens, 117‒143 mm SL, Bullocky Point Reef , Darwin Harbour, NT, Australia .

Photographic confirmation. QM I.35512, 77 mm SL, Double Point, Queensland (17° 38’S, 146° 09’E); QM I. 32402, 184 mm SL, Elliot Heads (24°59’S, 152°33’E): QM I.23774, 3 specimens, 196‒208, Cullen Island (21° 25’S, 149° 30’E), Queensland GoogleMaps ; AMS I.20776-007, 3 of 8 specimens, ca. 100‒125 mm SL, False Orfordness , Cape York (11°23' S, 142°52' E), Torres Strait, Queensland, Australia GoogleMaps .

Diagnosis. Distinguished from P. waigiensis by the following combination of characters: dense black or brownish colour on whole of head and body, pored lateral-line scales same colour of other scales of body ( Fig. 1B View FIGURE 1 ), not yellow-edged like P. waigiensis ( Fig. 1C View FIGURE 1 ), same dark colour persisting even in preserved specimens; higher counts of pored lateral-line scales, 49‒54; hind margin of maxilla reaching vertically beyond center of eye when mouth closed; pelvic-fin spine slightly longer than 4th dorsal spine; 25 or 26 circumpeduncular scales; shallower body depth, 23‒30% (mean 28%) of SL; greater number of scale rows above and below lateral line 6½ / 11½‒12½; gill rakers 7 [including 6 rudiments] + 1 + (12‒14 [3‒4 rudiments]) = 20‒24 [9‒10 rudiments]; last dorsal-fin spine / penultimate dorsal-fin spine 0.9‒1.1.

Description. Counts and proportional measurements (as percent of SL) of the neotype and other non-type specimens of Psammoperca datnioides are shown in Table 1.

Body compressed, its depth 3.2‒3.7 times in SL, deepest at dorsal-fin origin; dorsal profile concave in interorbital region, rising steeply (convex) thereafter to dorsal-fin origin; head moderately acute, its length 2.8‒3.1 times in SL; eye oval, height less than width, orbit diameter 3.4‒4.4 times in head length; snout 2.9‒3.9 times in head length; interorbital space 61‒71% of eye diameter; mouth oblique, lower jaw projecting beyond upper one when mouth closed; maxilla progressively deeper posteriorly, extending to vertical through anterior margin of black iris; villiform teeth present on jaws, palatines, pterygoids and vomer; tongue smooth anteriorly and present posteriorly, respectively; three sharp, strong spines on inferior margin of preopercle, a retrorse spine at angle of preopercle, the posterior margin of which bears 17‒23 denticulations; a sharp spine at angle of operculum; nares level with anterior one third of eye, separated from eye by distance subequal to diameter of black iris; first dorsal fin commencing slightly behind pelvic-fin, third spine longest (III>IV>V>VI>II>VII>I); base of first dorsal fin less than that of second dorsal fin; second anal-fin spine longest (II>III>I) in specimens less than 20 cm SL but subequal to third in specimens over 20 cm SL; pectoral fin 91‒105% of length of pelvic fin; distal profiles of pectoral, pelvic, anal and second-dorsal fins rounded; caudal fin rounded, with 9 + 8 in principal rays of upper lobe + lower lobe, respectively; dorsal and ventral procurrent rays (9 or 10) + 7, respectively; caudal peduncle depth 53‒62% of its length; scales ctenoid; body and head scaled, except for snout, throat, preorbital and interorbital regions; dorsal and anal fins with a scaly sheath at base; second-dorsal, caudal, anal and lateral area of pelvic fin densely covered with minute scales; one or two rows of a few pored scales on caudal fin sometimes present, one above and one below median pored lateral line; vertebrae 11 + 14 = 25.

Colouration. In fresh specimens ( Fig. 1A View FIGURE 1 , thawed holotype and all paratypes), head and body dense black or brownish colour, darker above lateral line and on dorsal region of head, subtly paler below; fins black, interradial membrane of dorsal fin black hyaline, yellowish or olive towards distal margin. Second dorsal fin, caudal and anal fins black, pectoral and pelvic fins subtly paler, pelvic-fin spine somewhat blackish hyaline; weak yellow longitudinal stripe present from upper part of maxilla to posteroventral part with one spine as well as weak yellow posterior hind edge and hind margin of upper opercula yellow; pored lateral line black, not yellow like P. waigiensis ( Fig. 1B View FIGURE 1 ). In preserved (70% ethanol) specimens, head and body uniformly black hyaline, no yellowish or olive colour on body or fins.

New English name. We propose the Australian common and local name ‘Black sand bass’ for this species, although it is also known by the local name ‘Sand bass’, but this name is more widely applied to Psammoperca waigiensis .

Remarks. Psammoperca datnioides Richardson 1848 is recognized here as a second species in Psammoperca .

Distribution. This species in Australia has been mistakenly reported from Queensland, New South Wales, Northern Territory, and Western Australia as Psammoperca waigiensis (see the synonymy of P. datnioides above and P. waigiensis below). Psammoperca specimens from Australia have long been reported as P. waigiensis ( Günther 1859, 1872, Paxton et al. 1989, and Larson et al. 2013) but eight specimens, collected from Queensland, not examined by us but subsequently confirmed from photographs of QM and AMS specimens (counted by J. Johnson and photographs sent to us by M. McGrouther), are clearly Psammoperca datnioides with a generally dense black or brown colour and slender body, 49‒53 pored lateral-line scales (49 in only 3 of 8 specimens in QM and AMS, see Photographic confirmation), and 12 soft dorsal-fin rays (vs. 46‒48 pored lateral-line scales and 13 soft dorsal-fin rays in P. waigiensis : see Diagnosis of P. waigiensis below). Pored lateral-line scales seem to be less (49‒53) when compared with specimens of P. datnioides from the Northern Territory and Western Australia (52‒ 54). While these ranges overlap, we consider the lateral-line scale variation with location of samples to be a specific geographical variation in P. datnioides .


Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences


Western Australian Museum














Psammoperca datnioides Richardson 1848

Iwatsuki, Yukio, Newman, Stephen J., Tanaka, Fumiya & Russell, Barry C. 2018


Boulenger 1895

Psammoperca datnioides

Richardson 1848: 116

Psammoperca waigiensis

Cuvier in Cuvier & Valenciennes 1828