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Pagrus auriga (Valenciennes, 1843)

A freshly caught individual measuring 46,4 cm of (TL) length. Another fish (about the same size) is obvious under this one in the same bucket. Photo by MCH/Andreas I. Iliopoulos

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

These breams are very beautiful animals, especially when young, as their pale adult colours are more distinctive and the 3rd and 4th dorsal rays very long. They have a whitish overall coloration with 5 vertical brownish red bars.

     The two first bars are narrow and the first one starts from the forehead crosses the eye and ends at the chin, while the second starts from the front side of the dorsal, goes along the margin of the operculum and ends at the pectoral region. The third bar is the widest and starts from the 3rd and 4th dorsal rays and goes down to the pelvic fin. The forth bar starts from the last dorsal rays and ends to the abdominal and anal fin and it is also a narrow one, while the 5th one is wide (not as wide as the 3rd) and it starts from the very last dorsal rays, ending at the anal fin and extends to the base of the caudal. Two more fainted narrow lines are also present on the lobe of the caudal and at the base of the soft rays of the caudal fin.

     These characteristics are getting paler as the animals grow older. The animals become pinkish or silvery pink with pinkish vertical bars.

     They are found over rocky substrata near pebbles and hard bottoms, where lot of bottom dwelling organisms occur. The usual depths that the animals prefer are 10 m to 170 m. They prey upon invertebrates (mainly molluscs and cephalopods or crustaceans). They grow from 30 cm (usually) to 80 cm of (SL) length and gain a body weight of 3 kg.

     Very important food fish and very attractive animals to be kept in captivity, especially when young when they are more impressive with these bars and the elongated dorsal rays. Feeding them is not an easy task though. They call for large tanks as well.

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