Barber Perch, Caesioperca rasor (Richardson 1839)

Other Names: Barber Sea Perch, Red Perch, Tasmanian Barber

A male Barber Perch, Caesioperca rasor, in Port Phillip, Victoria. Source: Rick Stuart-Smith / Reef Life Survey. License: CC BY Attribution

A pelagic schooling fish found only in southern Australia. Adult males are bluish with a black bar on the side. Females are pinkish with a blue line below the eye. Small juveniles are pink to pinkish-orange with a dark mauve head.

Barber Perch form large schools on sheltered coastal reefs, where they feed on plankton above rocky reefs, outcrops and drop-offs. The closely-related  Butterfly Perch usually occurs in more exposed habitats on deeper reefs.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Caesioperca rasor in Fishes of Australia, accessed 30 Nov 2020,

Barber Perch, Caesioperca rasor (Richardson 1839)

More Info


Endemic to temperate waters of southern Australia, from Wilsons Promontory, Victoria, to about Albany, Western Australia, and around Tasmania.

Barber Perch form large schools on sheltered coastal reefs, feeding on plankton above rocky reefs, outcrops and drop offs at depths of 7-100 m. They are usually found at shallower depths and in more sheltered habitats than Butterfly Perch.


Meristic features:
Dorsal-fin spines/rays X-XI, 19-21; Anal-fin spines/rays III, 9-10; Caudal-fin rays 17; Pectoral-fin rays 14-15; Pelvic-fin spines/rays I, 5; Lateral line 47-55; Vertebrae 11 + 15.
Body slender, compressed; pectoral fins elongate; dorsal fin long-based; tail forked.


To 26 cm


Males and females are sexually dimorphic. Males bluish above, yellowish on sides with a distinct vertical black bar above anal-fin spines. Females pinkish with a blue line below the eye; small juveniles pink with a dark mauve head.


Carnivores - feed on zooplankton


Females spawn pelagic eggs, and the larvae are pelagic.


Occasionally taken by recreational anglers.


In some areas, Barber Perch and Butterfly Perch form mixed schools.

Similar Species

Differs from the closely-related Butterfly Perch, Caesioperca lepidoptera, in having a more slender body, and in males being more bluish with a dark bar rather than a blotch on the midside.


Species Citation

Serranus rasor Richardson, 1839, Proc. Zool. Soc. London 7: 95. Type locality: Port Arthur, Tasmania


Dianne J. Bray


Barber Perch, Caesioperca rasor (Richardson 1839)


Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp.

Edgar, G.J. 2008. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Sydney : Reed New Holland 2, 624 pp.

Hutchins, J.B. & Thompson, M. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 103 pp. 345 figs

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. 

Kuiter, R.H. 1994. Families Serranidae, Callanthiidae. pp. 528-548 figs 469-485 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to sea fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 2004. Basslets, Hamlets and their relatives. A comprehensive guide to selected Serranidae and Plesiopidae. Chorleywood, UK : TMC Publishing 1, 216 pp.

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs

May, J.L. & Maxwell, J.G.H. 1986. Field Guide to Trawl Fish from Temperate Waters of Australia. Hobart : CSIRO Division of Marine Research 492 pp.

Richardson, J. 1839. Account of a collection of fishes from Port Arthur, Van Diemen's Land. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 7: 95-100.

Roberts, C.D. & Gomon, M. F. 2008. Families Polyprionidae, Serranidae and Callanthiidae. pp. 534-549 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37311003

Behaviour:Forms large schools

Depth:7-100 m

Habitat:Rocky reefs, outcrops, drop-offs

Max Size:26 cm TL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map