Wreckfish or stone bass (Polyprion americanus)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



Polyprion americanus has a deep and robust body that can reach up to 2 m in length. It has a large head with a rough bony ridge across the upper part of the gill. It has 11 spines on its dorsal fin and as many rays, the second part of the fin being much taller. The anal fin has three spines and 8-10 soft rays. The pelvic fins are longer than the pectoral fins. Its body is a uniform brown to bluish-grey with a silvery sheen. Juveniles may have irregular light and dark marblings on the head and body.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Recorded in the eastern English Channel but may be found throught British and Irish waters with the exception of the southern North Sea area.

Global distribution



The wreckfish is a demersal offshore species usually found off rocky and sandy bottoms at a depth range of 100-200 m. Younger individuals may be epipelagic.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Deep robust body up to 2 m in length.
  • Large head with a bony ridge across the opercle.
  • Longer pelvic fins than pectoral fins.
  • Uniform bluish-grey to brown in colour.

Additional information

No text entered

Listed by


  1. Froese, R. & Pauly, D., 2007. Fishbase. A global information system on fishes. [On-line] http://www.fishbase.org, 2008-02-18

  2. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  3. Whitehead, P.J.P., Bauchot, M.-L., Hureau, J.-C., Nielson, J. & Tortonese, E. 1986. Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Vol. I, II & III. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).


  1. Merseyside BioBank., 2018. Merseyside BioBank (unverified). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/iou2ld accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  2. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

  3. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2024-06-16


This review can be cited as:

Barnes, M.K.S. 2008. Polyprion americanus Wreckfish or stone bass. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 16-06-2024]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/166

Last Updated: 02/06/2008