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Author: (Linnaeus, 1758)

Symphodus (Crenilabrus) mediterraneus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Diagnosis: head length equal to body depth. Snout equal to or shorter than post-orbital. Mouth small. Teeth (1-4/3-7) with two prominent front canines. A few (4-7) large cephalic pores on snout. Lips with 0-1 fold. Dorsal finrays XV-XVIII + 8-11; anal finrays 111 + 8-12. Sca along lateral line 30-35, on temporo-occipital surface 3-4; rows scales above lateral line 3.5-4.5, on inter-operculum 2-3 (6-12 scalt on cheek 3-5, behind eye 1. Gillrakers 14-18. Vertebrae 30-32. Colour: important sexual dimorphism. Both sexes with a large dark mark base of pectoral fin (blue with a yellow margin in male, dark brown remale), another on caudal peduncle, above lateral line. Females a juveniles: yellowish-brown mottled darker brown, with a promin, dark blue urogenital papilla in adult females. Males: grey-bluish, brownish, pinkish or greenish, with some longitudinal lines of small light spots on the upper part of the sides. During spawning season red-brownish, -bluish or -greenish, upper part darker, with some blue green-brownish stripes on snout and cheeks. Throat and front part belly usually light blue. Size: to 18 cm SL, usually 10-12 cm.

Habitat: littoral, mainly in eel-grass beds (1-50 m). Behaviour: more less numerous, often in pairs. Males nest-makers. Food: mainly m luscs, gastropods, bivalves, tubicolous worms, chitons, sea-urchins, bryozoans. Reproduction: north-western Mediterranean in May-August; southern coasts in April-July. Sexually mature: females 2 year old (9 cm), males 2-3 years old, (12 cm). Age and growth: to 8 year. Rate of growth faster in males. When 7 years old females measure I cm and males 17 cm.

Distribution: from Portugal to Morocco, Mediterranean and Marmara Sea.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Quignard, 1967: 359, fig. 1-6.
Otoliths (sagitta). Sanz Echeverría, 1937: 33, pl. 2 (fig. 5-6) | Chaine, 1942: 54, pl. 3.

Axillary wrasse (Symphodus mediterraneus)