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Author: (Linnaeus, 1758)

Symphodus (Crenilabrus) tinca (Linnaeus, 1758)

Diagnosis: head generally longer than body depth. Snout longer or equal to post-orbital. Rather strong canine-like teeth (3-12/5-15). A few (5-8) cephalic pores on snout. Lips with 6-9 folds. Dorsal finrays XIV-XVII + 9-12; anal finrays III + 8-12. Scales along lateral line 33-38, on temporo- occipital surface 6-9; rows of scales above lateral line 3 1/2-4 1/2, on inter- operculum 3-4 (9-17 scales), on cheek 4-6, behind eye 1. Gillrakers 13-16. Vertebrae 32-34. Colour: sexual dimorphism. Both sexes with a small dark spot at base of caudal fin and a dark blotch just above pectoral fin; absent in juveniles, more or less evident in adults. Many darker spots on body forming 3 or 4 indistinct longitudinal stripes. Females and juveniles: grey-greenish or -brownish, fading to silvery colour on belly. Lips whitish. Small, pale grey urogenital papilla in females. Males: more brightly coloured, especially in breeding season. Pale green, green-bluish or green-yellowish, longitudinal rows of red spots, upper part of head dark blue. Fins marked with blue, green, red and yellow. Size: to 35 cm SL, usually 20-25 cm.

Habitat: littoral, near rocks, mainly in eel-grass beds (1-50 m). Sometimes in salty lagoons. Behaviour: often gregarious. Nest of seaweed built and kept by male (one or more females spawning). Food: seaurchins, ophiuroids, bivalves, shrimps, crabs. Reproduction: French Mediterranean coasts in April-July; North African coasts in March- June. Sexually mature: females 2 years old (10 cm), males 2-3 years old (10.5 cm). Sex reversal. Age and growth: to 14-15 years. Rate of growth slow: when 7 years old females measure 20 cm and males 26 cm.

Distribution: from northern Spain to Morocco. Mediterranean and Black Sea.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Hoffmann, 1881: 18 | List, 1887b: 595, pl. 33 (fig. 39) | Sparta, 1936: 3, fig. 1-12; 1956: 582, fig. 447-450 | Gorbunova, 1959: 174, fig. 1-2.
Otoliths (sagitta). Sanz Echeverría, 1937: 41, pl. 2 (fig. 18-20) | Chaine, 1942: 59, 65, pl. 3.

Peacock wrasse (Symphodus tinca)