Greater bream, Diplodus sargus or Diplodus sargus sargus (Linnaeus, 1758) is a sea fish belonging to the Sparidae family.
Distribution and habitat
This species is widespread in the Mediterranean, in the Black Sea (rare) and in the eastern Atlantic Ocean in the north to the Gulf of Gascony. In the Italian seas it is very common.
It is a fairly versatile species with regard to the habitat. It can in fact be found on hard, sandy, Posidonia oceanica and even in the lagoons where the salinity is not too low. The preferred environment are however those of rocks covered with dense vegetation. It is a strictly coastal species.
It has a tall body and is flattened laterally as it happens in other bream. The mouth is small enough armed with incisiviform teeth. The pectoral fins are wide and pointed, the ventral fins are black with a clear band in the middle. All the unripe fins are bordered in black, the caudal fin has a much wider black border.
The color is silvery overall, with 5 black vertical lines (more showy in small specimens) alternating with 4 dark gray, plus a black spot on the back part of the body, just before the caudal fin, which does not extend to the lower edge of the caudal peduncle . In the reproductive period the upper part of the snout becomes bluish.
It reaches a maximum length of 45 cm per 2 kg of weight. He lives up to 10 years.
It is a gregarious species when young and becomes solitary as an adult.
It feeds on crustaceans and other benthic invertebrates, even when young, of algae. It particularly favors the hedgehog Paracentrotus lividus, of which it is the main predator, but only when it reaches the greatest size with relative development of the teeth, which allows it to break the shell even if provided with spines.
It reproduces in the months of January-March in the eastern Mediterranean and later, in spring, in the western one.