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Author: Linnaeus, 1758

Diplodus sargus Linnaeus, 1758

Diagnosis: Iips thin; in each jaw, 8 incisors (exceptionally 10 in upper one); molars behind incisors and at back of jaws in several series, 3 4 (rarely 5) in upper, 2-3 (rarely 4) in lower jaw; gillrakers 9-12 lower, 6-9 upper. D XI-XII (rarely XIII) + 12-15; A III+ 12-14. Lateral line scales 58-67 to caudal base. Colour: silvery grey, inter-ocular space and snout darker; 9 transverse stripes alternately very dark and paler; dark saddle on caudal peduncle, just behind last dorsal rays; black spot at upper pectoral axil; dorsal and anal dusky, distally darker; hind caudal edge black; in juveniles, only the 5 darker stripes appear. Size: to 45 cm SL, usually 20-25 cm.

Habitat: Iittoral waters on rocky bottoms and sand close to rocks, to 50 m in Mediterranean, deeper in Atlantic; young euryhaline, entering brackish waters and lagoons in spring, returning to sea at end of autumn, where they live on Posidonia beds. Gregarious. Food: young (to 10 cm) omnivorous (mainly algae and worms, small molluscs, hydrozoans), adults carnivorous (worms, molluscs, crustaceans, echinoderms). Reproduction: January-March (eastern Mediterranean), March-June (western Mediterranean); gonochoric or hermaphroditic protandrous; maturity at 2 years (about 17 cm).

Distribution: Atlantic coasts, from Bay of Biscay to Cape Verde Is. and the Canaries, also Madeira (but not Cape Verde Is.) (D. sargus cadenati); also Mediterranean (common) and Black Sea (rare) (D. sargus sargus).

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Raffaele, 1888: 24 | Holt, 1899b: 110, pl. 2 (fig. 10-16) | Ehrenbaum, 1905: 21 | Lo Bianco, 1909: 744 | Ranzi, 1930: 407-416; 1933: 351, fig. 257-258, pl. 26 (fig. 1-18) | de Buen, 1932: 26, fig. 18-20.
Otoliths (sagitta). Koken, 1884: 538, pl. 10 (fig. 5) | Sanz Echeverría, 1930: 175, fig. 15-17 | Chaine, 1937: 152, pl. 14 & 159, pl. 15.

Subspecies

Diplodus sargus sargus Linnaeus, 1758
one less series of molars (in fish of same size); dark stripes on flanks disappear in large fishes (over 250 mm).
Eggs, larvae and young stages. No data.
Otoliths (sagitta). No data.

Diplodus sargus cadenati de la Paz, Bauchot and Daget, 1974
one more series of molars (in fish of same size); dark-stripes still visible in large fishes.
Eggs, larvae and young stages. No data.
Otoliths (sagitta). No data.

White sea bream (Diplodus sargus)