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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrata > fishes
Family Terapontidae (Therapontidae)
updated Oct 2016

Where seen? These small silvery fishes are sometimes encountered trapped in pools at low tide on both our Northern and Southern Shores.

What are perch?
Perch belong to the Family Terapontidae. The family name is sometimes also spelt Theraponidae or Therapontidae. According to FishBase: the family has 16 genera and 45 species. They are found in the Indo-West Pacific in marine and freshwater.

3-10cm. Among the features of this family are two spines on their gill covers (operculum), the lower spine usually longer. Most are silvery with patterns of longitudinal lines or spots. They can produce loud noises using their swim bladders. Thus they are sometimes also called grunters or trumpeters. They are also called tigerperches. Adults usually school, while small juveniles are found among floating weeds.

What do they eat? These fishes eat other fishes as well as insects, seaweed and other animals that live in the sand. Young perch often shelter in seagrass beds and mangroves.

Human uses: Some species of perch are eaten and sold fresh or dried and salted. Some larger species of perch are also highly valued in sport fishing.

Family Terapontidae recorded for Singapore
from Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity in Singapore.

  Family Terapontidae (Therapontidae)
  Helotes sexlineatus

Pelates quadrilineatus
(Trumpeter perch)

Terapon jarbua
(Crescent perch)
Terapon puta
Terapon theraps
(Banded perch)



  • Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity in Singapore. National Council on the Environment. 163pp.
  • Allen, Gerry, 2000. Marine Fishes of South-East Asia: A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Periplus Editions. 292 pp.
  • Kuiter, Rudie H. 2002. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia: A Comprehensive Reference for Divers & Fishermen New Holland Publishers. 434pp.
  • Lieske, Ewald and Robert Myers. 2001. Coral Reef Fishes of the World Periplus Editions. 400pp.
  • Lim, S., P. Ng, L. Tan, & W. Y. Chin, 1994. Rhythm of the Sea: The Life and Times of Labrador Beach. Division of Biology, School of Science, Nanyang Technological University & Department of Zoology, the National University of Singapore. 160 pp.
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