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Oblada melanura (common name: Saddle bream; Linnaeus 1758)

by John G. Reclos

A group of O. melanura in the Saronic gulf at a depth of 6 meters. Click on the image to see the high resolution picture.

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

Family: SPARIDAE

Order: Perciformes

Class: Actinopterygii

Distribution: Mediterranean Sea, south Biscay bay and east Atlantic Ocean (from Gibraltar to Sierra Leone, including the insular complexes of Canaries, Azores, Madeira and Cape Verde, to Congo and south Africa).

Depth: Up to 30 m, but usually the animals are found up to 10 m

Common name: saddle bream

Size: from 15 cm to 20 cm, rarely to 30 cm.

Natural biotopes: Sandy, muddy and rocky substrata of typical Mediterranean reef associated coastal waters with dense vegetation of macroalgae and P. oceanica meadows

Artificial environment: They should need a tank with a volume of more than 700 l, with strong lights. They should be kept in groups of over six (6) individuals

Temperature: 18° C to 22° C

Food: They feed almost exclusively on crustaceans and zooplanktonic animals, which they graze from the substrata when juveniles, but when adults they feed mainly on vegetable matter. If adapted well in captivity they shall take almost any artificial, prepared, frozen, freeze dried and live foods.

Behavior: It is a diurnal schooling species.

General information: The characteristic shape of the animals’ bodies, especially the white margin around the black tailspot. 

It is not regarded as a first class food fish.

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