Orcynopsis unicolor

Author: (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1817)

Orcynopsis unicolor (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1817)

Status in World Register of Marine Species:
Accepted name: Orcynopsis unicolor (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1817) (updated 2009-06-25)

Diagnosis: body relatively short and deep, strongly compressed. Mouth rather large, upper jaw reaching to hind margin of eye. Two tooth patches on upper surface of tongue. Gillrakers 12-17, usually 14-16. Dorsal fins close together, the first (spiny) short and high (12-14 spines) and almost straight in outline. Pectoral fins short (21-23 rays). Interpelvic process small and bifid. Body naked behind well developed corselet, except for a band of scales along the bases of the dorsal fins and patches of scales around the bases of the pectoral and pelvic fins. Caudal peduncle with a well developed median keel between the two smaller keels on each side. Bony keels on caudal peduncle vertebrae low and poorly developed. Right lobe of liver much longer than central and left lobes. Intestine folded. Vertebrae 18 + 20 = 38. Colour: back blue black with a faint mottled pattern laterally but no prominent stripes or spots; anterior three-quarters of first dorsal fin black. Size: to 130 cm fork length, 13.1 kg, common to 70 cm.

Habitat: epipelagic in coastal waters. Apparently not schooling, usually taken singly or a few at a time. Food: small fishes, especially sardines and anchovies. Reproduction: spawning takes place in the Mediterranean from July to September.

Distribution: an eastern Atlantic endemic whose range is concentrated along the Mediterranean coast of Africa north to Israel and Lebanon. It occurs sporadically in the north-central Mediterranean with records from Nice, Genoa, Sicily, Malta and the Adriatic Sea. There are three records from Scandinavian waters. Elsewhere, the range extends south along the Atlantic coast of Africa to Senegal.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. A figure of a very young specimen in Soljan, 1948 (1963): fig. p. 148. A good figure (in colour) of a young specimen (15 cm) in Lozano Rey, 1952: pl. 41, fig. 3.
Otoliths (sagitta). No data.