Black Sand Bass, Psammoperca datnioides Richardson 1848

Other Names: Dwarf Palmer, Dwarf Palmer Perch, Glasseye Perch, Glass-eyed Perch, Jewel Eye, Jewel-eye, Pink-eyed Bass, Reef Barramundi, Sand Bass, Sand Perch, Waigeo Barramundi, Waigieu Seaperch

A Sand Bass, Psammoperca datnioides, on Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, July 2017. Source: John Turnbull / Flickr. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A black, steely-grey or brownish bass with dark lateral line scales and dark fins. 
In Australia, this species was previously referred to as Psammoperca waigiensis. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2023, Psammoperca datnioides in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 Jun 2024,

Black Sand Bass, Psammoperca datnioides Richardson 1848

More Info


Endemic to Australia from Busselton, Western Australia, around the tropical north, to Moreton Bay, Queensland. 


Dorsal fin VII-VIII, 12-14; Anal fin III, 8-9; Lateral line scales (pored) 46-49. Head with a single large flat spine at rear angle of preoperculum. Lateral line extends onto caudal fin.


The study of Iwatsuki et al. (2018) indicates that P. waigiensis is unlikely to occur in Australia, and that further work is needed to confirm its distribution in the region adjacent to northern Australia. 

Similar Species

Differs from Psammoperca waigiensis in having the following characters: more slender body (mean depth 28.9% of SL vs. mean depth 36.7% of SL in P.  waigiensis), pored lateral-line scales 49–54 (vs. 46–48 in P. waigiensis), scale rows above and below lateral line 6½ / 10½–11½ (vs 4½ / 9½–10½ in P. waigiensis), and vertical at hind margin of maxilla posterior/behind centre of eye (vs. vertical at hind margin of maxilla anterior to/in front of hind margin of eye in P. waigiensis). P. waigiensis also has a brownish to golden body with yellow-edged pored lateral-line scales.


The specific name datnioides presumably refers to Richardson considering that this species had a resemblance to [–oides (= form, likeness)] fishes of the terapontid genus Datnia, that also formed part of the Erebus and Terror collections from Australia.

Species Citation

Psammoperca datnioides Richardson 1848, Zool. Voy. H.M.S. Erebus and Terror 2: 116, pl. 57, figs 1-2. Type locality: Bullocky Point Reef, Darwin Harbour (Vestey's Beach boat ramp), Fannie Bay, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia (neotype, designated by Iwatsuki et al, 2018).


Bray, D.J. 2023


Atlas of Living Australia

Black Sand Bass, Psammoperca datnioides Richardson 1848


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. (in part as Psammoperca waigiensis)

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls. (as Psammoperca waigiensis

Blaber, S.J.M., Young, J.W. & Dunning, M.C. 1985. Community structure and zoogeographic affinities of the coastal fishes of the Dampier region of north-western Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 36: 247-266,

Bleeker, P. 1855. Over eenige visschen van Van Diemensland. Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen 2: 1-31 fig. 1 (as Psammoperca waigiensis

Coleman, N. 1981. Australian Sea Fishes North of 30°S. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 297 pp. (as Psammoperca waigiensis)

Cuvier, G.L. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1828. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 2 xxi, 2 + 490 pp., pls 9-40. 

Gan, H.M., Takahashi, H., Hammer, M.P., Tan, M.H., Lee, Y.P., Voss, J.M. & Austin, C.M. 2017. Mitochondrial genomes and phylogenetic relationships of Lates japonicusLates niloticus, and Psammoperca waigiensis (Perciformes: Latidae). Journal Mitochondrial DNA Part B, Resources 2 (1): 73–75. 

Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp. (as Psammoperca waigiensis)  

Hoschke, A., Whisson, G. & Moore, G.I. 2019. Complete list of fishes from Rottnest Island. pp. 150-161 in Whisson, G. & Hoschke, A. (eds) The Rottnest Island fish book. 2nd ed. Perth : Aqua Research and Monitoring Services.

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp. (as Psammoperca waigiensis

Iwatsuki, Y., Newman, S.J., Tanaka, F. & Russell, B.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): 467–486 

Johnson, J.W. 1999. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 43(2): 709-762 (as Psammoperca waigiensis)   

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) (as Psammoperca waigiensis)   

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. (as Psammoperca waigiensis)  

Larson, H.K. 1999. Family Centropomidae. pp. 2429-2432 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 4 pp. 2069-2790. (as Psammoperca waigiensis in part)  

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds). The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp (as Psammoperca waigiensis).   

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1–293. (as Psammoperca waigiensis)  

Linke, T.E., Platell, M.E. & Potter, I.C. 2001. Factors influencing the partitioning of food resources among six fish species in a large embayment with juxtaposing bare sand and seagrass habitats. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 266: 193-217. (as Psammoperca waigiensis)  

Prokop, F. 2002. Australian Fish Guide. Croydon South, Victoria : Australian Fishing Network 256 pp. (as Psammoperca waigiensis)   

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. (as Psammoperca waigiensis)   

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs. (as Psammoperca waigiensis)   

Richardson, J. 1848. Ichthyology. 75-139 pls 42-43 & 44 (parts), 45-52, 53 in Richardson, J. & Gray, J.E. (eds). The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Erebus and Terror under the Command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross, R.N., F.R.S., during the years 1839–43. London : Smith, Elder & Co. Vol. 2 139 pp. See ref online

Russell, B.C. & Houston, W. 1989. Offshore fishes of the Arafura Sea. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 6(1): 69-84 See ref at BHL

Travers, M.J. & Potter, I.C. 2002. Factors influencing the characteristics of fish assemblages in a large subtropical marine embayment. Journal of Fish Biology 61(3): 764-784

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37310001

Depth:2-12 m

Fishing:Commercial & sportsfish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:47 cm TL


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CAAB distribution map