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Author: Forsskål, 1775

Symphodus (Crenilabrus) ocellatus Forsskål, 1775

Diagnosis: head length equal to or shorter than body depth. Snout shorter than post-orbital. Small canine-like teeth (6-10/9-13). Operculum with a cuneiform scaleless area on upper part of hind margin. A few (46) cephalic pores on snout. Lips with 4-6 folds. Dorsal finrays XIII-XV + 8-11; anal finrays III + 8-11. Scales along lateral line 30-34, on temporo-occipital surface 3-4; rows of scales above lateral line 3.5-4.5, on inter-operculum 1-2 (5-10 scales), on cheek 2-4, behind eye 1 (2). Gillrakers 14-18. Vertebrae 30-32. Colour: very variable. Sexual dimorphism. Both sexes: on operculum a large spot of varying coloration outlined usually with red. A small spot at base of caudal fin. Females and juveniles: brownish, yellowish, belly whitish, often two longitudinal darker brown stripes, one just below dorsal fin, other on middle part of flanks. Adult females with a dark urogenital papilla. Males vivid orange-brown, or green, with plays of bluish or greenish colours. Red, blue and green lines on head. Size: to 12 cm SL, usually 7-8 cm.

Habitat: Iittoral, near rocks and eel-grass beds (1-30 m). Behaviour: more or less gregarious. A nest of seaweed (Cystoseria) built and kept by male. Food bryozoa, hydroids, tubicolous worms, shrimps, amphipods and molluscs. Reproduction: north-western Mediterranean in May-July; southern coasts in April-July. Sexually mature off French Mediterranean coasts: females 1 year old (4 cm), males 1-2 years old (5.7 cm). Sex reversal. Age and growth: to 5 years, rate of growth faster in males. When 3 years old males measure 10 cm and females 9 cm.

Distribution: Mediterranean, Adriatic, Black Sea, Sea of Azov.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Soljan, 1930a: 150, fig. 5-6; 1930b: 150, fig. 4-5 | Sparta, 1931: 3, fig. 1-5 | Vodyanitzki & Kazanova, 1954: 311, fig. 52A-E | Sparta, 1956: 579, fig. 439-442 | Aboussouan, 1964: 131.
Otoliths (sagitta). Sanz Echeverría, 1937: 35, pl. 2 (fig. 7-8) | Chaine, 1942: 36, pl. 2.

Subspecies

Symphodus (Crenilabrus) ocellatus ocellatus (Forsskål, 1775).

Symphodus (Crenilabrus) ocellatus bertini Pras, 1961: bright uniform or orange-red with a black spot on operculum and on caudal peduncle. Small size. Near Toulon and probably off Italy.
Eggs, larvae and young stages. No data.
Otoliths (sagitta). No data.

Symphodus ocellatus