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Author: (Linnaeus, 1758)

Sarpa salpa (Linnaeus, 1758)

Diagnosis: body oblong; head short, snout obtuse, mouth subterminal and small; upper jaw slightly prominent. Scales on cheek and opercle. In both jaws incisors uniserial, upper ones notched, lower ones depressed on their outer face and ending in a single triangular point; all incisors with well visible roots inside of mouth; gillrakers 12-14 lower, 6 7 upper. D Xl-XII + 14 17; A 111 + 13-15; pectoral short, ending before anus. Lateral line scales 70 80 to caudal base. Colour: grey-bluish; 10-11 fine longitudinal golden lines along rows of scales; eye yellow; lateral line very dark; black spot at upper pectoral base; caudal fin dark grey, other fins light. Size: to 46 cm SL, usually 30 cm.

Habitat: Iittoral waters near rocks with algal coverage, beds of Posidonia, Zostera and Caulerpa (warm waters) and also on sandy mud to 70 m. Gregarious, sometimes large schools. Food: omnivorous, young mainly carnivorous (crustaceans), adults almost exclusively herbivorous. Sometimes toxic in summer when it feeds on Caulerpa. Reproduction: two periods (spring and autumn) according to the temperature of water; hermaphroditic protandrous.

Distribution: common throughout Mediterranean, rare in Black Sea; Atlantic, recorded in North Sea (52° N), Bay of Biscay (rare) to Sierra Leone, Madeira, the Canaries and the Cape Verde Is. (common). Elsewhere, from Congo to South Africa.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Lo Bianco, 1909: 701 | Ranzi, 1930: 407-416; 1933: 368, pl. 29 (fig. 8-20).
Otoliths (sagitta). Koken, 1884: 538, pl. 10 (fig. 7) | Sanz Echeverría, 1930: 176, fig. 25 | Chaine, 1937: 196, pl. 17-18.

Salema (Sarpa salpa)