Lithognathus mormyrus

Author: (Linnaeus, 1758)

Lithognathus mormyrus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Status in World Register of Marine Species:
Accepted name: Lithognathus mormyrus (Linnaeus, 1758) (updated 2009-06-25)

Diagnosis: body elongately ovoid, well compressed; upper profile of head gently curved; snout elongate and pointed; posterior nostril an oblique slit, just in front of eye; scales on cheek and opercle; preopercle broad, scaleless; eye rather small. In front of each jaw, outer series of conical teeth slightly enlarged, followed by inner bands of shorter teeth; at back of jaw, molariform teeth in 3-6 upper and 2-4 lower rows; row next to innermost the largest; gillrakers 14-17 lower, 9-11 upper. D XI-XII + 11-12; A III + 10-11; pectoral short, ending well before anus. Lateral line scales 59-65 to caudal base. Colour: silvery grey, darker dorsally; 14-15 narrow, more or less dark, transverse stripes; interocular space and snout dark brown; dorsal and caudal fins generally brownish; other fins lighter. Size: to 55 cm SL, usually 25 cm.

Habitat: Iittoral waters on sandy or sand-muddy bottoms, sometimes on Posidonia beds, to 50 m (western Mediterranean), 80 m (eastern Mediterranean) and 150 m (Atlantic); exceptionally enters Mediterranean lagoons. Gregarious, sometimes in large schools. Food: carnivorous (crustaceans, worms, molluscs, sea-urchins). Reproduction: spring and summer; hermaphroditic protandrous; maturity at 2 years (about 14 cm).

Distribution: common throughout Mediterranean; absent in Black Sea; Atlantic, from Bay of Biscay to Cape of Good Hope; the Canaries and Cape Verde Is.; absent in Madeira. Elsewhere, Red Sea and south-western Indian Ocean.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Lo Bianco, 1909: 738 | Ranzi, 1930: 407-416; 1933: 349, pl. 25 (fig. 13-17) | Varagnolo, 1964: 259, pl. 5 (fig. 23-27).
Otoliths (sagitta). Koken, 1884: 359, pl. 10 (fig. 9) | Shepherd, 1915: 261, fig. 18 | Sanz Echeverría, 1926: 153, fig. 40; 1930: 175, fig. 13-14 | Chaine, 1937: 122, pl. 12.