In this study, DNA analyses were employed to verify the identity of six morphologically similar species that occur in the coastal waters of Taiwan: the black seabream complex (Acanthopagrus latus, Acanthopagrus schlegelii, Acanthopagrus sivicolus, Acanthopagrus taiwanensis, Acanthopagrus chinshira and Acanthopagrus pacificus). Amplified fragment-length polymorphism (AFLP) analyses clearly distinguished the same six species that are morphologically diagnosable based on subtle differences in scale counts and anal-fin colouration. In contrast, mitochondrial DNA analyses based on cytochrome b gene sequences did not distinguish individuals of A. schlegelii and A. sivicolus, reflecting either historical introgression or recent speciation and incomplete sorting of their mitochondrial lineages. Phylogenetic relationships among these six north-west Pacific Ocean species of Acanthopagrus analysed using AFLP data were consistent with scale rows above the lateral line (TRac), sperm ultrastructure and geographical distribution. The study provides molecular tools for future research relevant to improved management of these resources, and an increased understanding of the evolutionary history of this radiation.