Lipophrys nigriceps (Vinciguerra, 1883)
A pair of L. nigriceps (on the top the ♀ animal). The ♂ shows not its nuptial coloration as the specimens were photographed out of their breeding season.
♂ L. nigriceps in breeding coloration
Size: length (TL) about 4,5 cm when adult
Environment: Reef associated. The animals prefer very shallow waters – up to six meters (6 m) – where they live in crevices and shaded hangs. They are (mainly) diurnal animals.
Food: Sessile invertebrate and algae, while they show a rather small interest for harpacticoids.
Distribution: Mediterranean Sea
Common name: Black-headed blenny
General notes: Very good choice for Mediterranean marine systems as long as tanks with subdued lighting or systems with plenty of hiding spots and vegetation are provided. Do not keep them in tanks with less three hundred liters (300 l) of volume.
The animals are shy and thus they need to feel secure, so one must pay attention when aquascaping the tank. Although a little is known about the social behavior of these fishes, I have observed in nature five to six individuals occurring in a small area measuring about one square meter (1 m2) and the ♂♂ shows very mild aggression.
The dominant mature ♂♂ animals are red overall with dark blue and dark silvery gray blotches on the head. The species can be easily misidentified as Triperygion melanurus minor. They can be recognized though from the three (3) dorsal fins. The dark spot on the base of the caudal is a more common characteristic of the animals inhabit south and east Mediterranean Sea.
Already kept in captivity. Interesting addition to Mediterranean tanks.
Text and photos by MCH/Andreas I. Iliopoulos