Salema - Sarpa salpa

Salema, Sarpa Salpa (Linnaeus, 1758), commonly known as a sail, is a marine bony fish belonging to the family Sparidae. It is the only species of the genus Sarpa. Salpa Sarpa Sparidae Sarpa Salema porgy

Sparidi_ Saraghi e Salpe – Diplodus Sargus and Sarpa salpa

Distribution and habitat

The sail is present throughout the Mediterranean and the eastern Atlantic, from the Bay of Biscay to South Africa.

This is a strictly coastal species that is from the surface to (exceptionally) to 70 meters deep; usually it does not exceed 20 meters and is also found in very shallow water. Populates rocky bottoms with growth of aquatic plants and oceanic Posidonia meadows.


The body has the typical form of Sparidae, flattened on the sides, the back and abdomen convex in equal manner. The caudal peduncle is thin, the tail fin forked with pointed lobes. The eyes are rather small. The mouth is small, placed at the apex of the muzzle and pointed slightly downward, with sharp teeth used to scrape algae from rocks. The dorsal fin has the front with little strong spines and is fairly low, as well as the anal fin, which has 3 spiny rays.

Sparidi_ Saraghi e Salpe – Diplodus Sargus and Sarpa salpa

The color is silvery gray-blue back, silver sides crossed horizontally by 10/12 thin gold stripes. A dark speck is to root of the pectoral fins. The eyes are golden. The tail and fins are greenish blue except the ventral fins which are transparent. It reaches a length of 50 cm and 3 kg in weight but usually does not exceed 30 cm for 1 kg. Salpa Sarpa Sparidae Sarpa Salema porgy


Gregarious species that forms dense shoals and well disciplined that move quickly among the rocks. This fish has a very powerful swim that produces a vibration that can be felt by divers.


It is a mostly herbivorous fish, particularly appreciates the green alga Ulva lactuca or seafood salad. As a young man it mainly feeds on annelids, crustaceans and other invertebrates.


Hermaphrodite proterandrica, the sail was born male and then become female during growth. The eggs are laid in autumn.


Salpa – Sarpa salpa –


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Video Gallery

Salpa – Salpa sarpa

Snorkeling – Salpe e Saraghi

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