Symphodus melanocercus

Author: (Risso, 1810)

Symphodus (Crenilabrus) melanocercus (Risso, 1810)

Diagnosis: rather elongate shape. Head length shorter than body depth. Snout longer than post-orbital. Mouth small. Minute teeth (3-5 (7)/6-7(9)). A few (4-10) cephalic pores on snout. Lips with 5-6 folds. Dorsal finrays XV XVII + 6-10; anal finrays III + 8-11. Scales along lateral line 30-38, on temporo-occipital surface 3-4; rows of scales above lateral line 3.5, on inter-operculum 1-2 (5-8 scales), on cheek 3-4, behind eye 1 (2). Gillrakers 13-15. Vertebrae 32. Colour: females a juveniles: pinkish-brown above, pinkish-yellow below. Caudal fin black, outlined with white, a vertical yellow stripe on its base. Males: more brilliant in spawning season. Greyish, yellowish or pinkish, more or less mottled brown and blue; blue spots most distinct on upper part of sides, often set in two rows. Blue stripes on head. Caudal fin black, mottled blue, with a more or less evident vertical pale stripe on its base. Size: to 14 cm, usually 10-12 cm.

Habitat: Iittoral, rocky areas and eel-grass beds (1-25 m). Behaviour: no nesting, but each male keeps its own territory, covered with Cystoseria, where females spawn. Acts as 'cleaner'. Food: worms, small amphipods, copepods, bryozoans and hydrozoans. Reproduction: Nice in May-July; Corsica in April June; Algeria in March May.

Distribution: Mediterranean, Marmara Sea.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Sparta, 1944: 71, pl. 1 (fig. 1-10).
Otoliths (sagitta). Chaine, 1942: 75, pl. 4.