The black perch inhabits rocky areas near kelp forests and occasionally sandy bottoms and coastal bays. Even though this perch is able to occupy depths of about 50 metres, it is not in the habit of venturing to depths greater than 6 metres. It forms small groups of three or four individuals, feeds on crustaceans and is viviparous.
The kelp forests in which this fish inhabits are composed of brown algae that dominate nutrient-rich waters and cold temperate places. These are areas that shelter a wide variety of species, many of them of high commercial value.
It is usually dark reddish brown in colour, with darker vertical stripes.