Black seabream, Spondyliosoma cantharus, also called Cantaro in Italy, is a fish belonging to the Sparidae family, like the more common bream, and sea bream. We usually encounter this fish on the shallows in the open sea and at depths of 10 to 100 meters.
In this video we see it close to the coast and a rocky seabed of about 4/5 metres. This fish is usually quite shy and wary and tends to flee from the presence of the diver; this Tanuta, on the other hand, allowed herself to be approached and filmed at a distance of just over one metre.
Black seabream (Spondyliosoma cantharus Linnaeus, 1758), also known as cantaro, is a sea fish of the Sparidae family.
The appearance of this fish varies greatly with age. The young specimens up to 6-7 cm are similar in shape to young sea bream or salps, as the size increases the body shape becomes stocky and the profile high; adult males have a marked cephalic hump and a concave forehead.
The livery is greyish with yellowish and blue longitudinal lines in females and juveniles; the latter may have some dark vertical bands. Adult males are bright blue with dark bands on the back and head and a dark spot on the eye (resembles Zorro’s mask). Another color pattern (more prevalent in Atlantic fish) of the male is very dark gray with a pair of vertical white bands on the flanks. It can measure up to 50cm.
Species confident when young while adults are very suspicious and difficult to approach.
It is the only species of Mediterranean Sparids that does not lay pelagic eggs. In fact, a nest is built by the male in a sandy clearing and the eggs adhere to each other and to the substrate. It reproduces in spring. It is a protogynous hermaphrodite, the young are all female, while the old specimens are male.
It feeds on invertebrates, especially small crustaceans and polychaetes.
Distribution and habitat
It is one of the sparids with the most northern distribution, in fact it is found as far north as Scandinavia while to the south it reaches Angola. It is present throughout the Mediterranean Sea and is very rare in the Black Sea. It is widespread on the Italian coasts but tends to concentrate in a few suitable areas and to be rare all around.
In this species the juveniles occupy very different environments from those of the adults as they are found on bottoms covered by Posidonia oceanica meadows even in shallow waters; mature specimens, on the other hand, prefer hard bottoms from 10 to 100 meters deep. It is particularly common at the top of the shallows offshore or near rocks and small islands that rise from deep seabeds.