Black sea bass can swim very fast for short distances (4) but are not built for sustained speed and the vast majority of their prey is caught on the sea bed (3). As the black sea bass rapidly opens its huge mouth a vacuum is produced, which draws in organisms crawling across the bottom or buried just below the surface, although some mid-water fish are also ambushed and sucked in. The diet largely consists of a range of fish such as sting rays, skates, flatfish, small sharks, as well as various crustaceans and octopus and squid (3).
Black sea bass mature at seven to ten years. Large spawning aggregations form over the period of June to September, and remain together for a period of one to two months (1). Large females are capable of producing enormous numbers of eggs, up to 60 million or more, which hatch in around 24 to 36 hours. The larvae then drift around feeding on plankton for about a month before becoming bottom-dwelling juveniles (3). Remarkably, individuals have been known to live to an age of at least 70 years (2).