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Abudefduf saxatilis (Linnaeus, 1758)

An aquarium specimen photo by MCH/Andreas I. Iliopoulos

Original drawing in "Guid d'identification des poissons marins Europe et Mediterranee" by Patrick Louisy

The species is recorded as an introduced one, from the Red Sea in Italy in 1957. Breeding the species in captivity has been successful and nowadays there are available captive bred specimens in the hobby market. The adults may reach over 20 cm of (TL) length, while it is common to find adults of about 15 cm of (SL) length. Larger adults may weight up to about 200 gr. They are found in pools when young, but they form massive schools measuring many hundreds of individuals, when adults, occur over reefs of the shallow waters.

     They feed upon invertebrates’ larvae, zooplanktonic matter, smaller fishes, crustaceans and various algae species. They are the targets of some members of the LABRIDAE and SERRANIDAE families, which they prey upon them.

     They are quite aggressive, especially during spawning and they show obvious territorial behaviour. ♂♂ guard their nests and they turn into a bluish overall coloration. Most of the times, they are attracted to divers, especially the ones they carry fish food. Their spawning season is not distinguished as they are found to breed year round.

     They are found on almost all Atlantic reefs, the Red Sea and recently into the southeastern Mediterranean basin. Unknown agents may be the main reason for the scale disorientation it is found on some specimens, which inhabit the central eastern Atlantic Ocean.

     It is appreciated as an aquarium species and it is widely sold as one and captive brood specimens are available on the trade of the hobby, nowadays.

This species is a Lessepsian migrant

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