Two geographical forms of the temperate bass, Lateolabrax japonicus, from the coasts of China and Japan, are described and compared based on early stage morphological characteristics. Both forms were laboratory-reared under the same conditions. Larvae derived from the Chinese population differed from those from the Japanese population in chromatophore patterns and snout length. Melanophores and xanthophores on the body formed vertical bands in the former, but were scattered in the latter. Larvae and juveniles of the former also had a significantly shorter snout length. Such morphological differences in early ontogenetic characters suggested that the Chinese and Japanese temperate bass represent distinct species.