Thalassoma Pavo

Thalassoma Pavo
Thalassoma Pavo

Thalassoma pavo Linnaeus, 1758, also known by the common name Donzella pavonina, is a salt water fish belonging to the Labridae family. In this video we can see him first in group with different individuals of the same species all males, then in pairs male female in the two different liveries. This species is strongly territorial and defends its territory even by occasional intruders while being very curious towards the diver. It is one of the most colorful fish in the Mediterranean Sea and it is quite easy to meet it in rocky and posidonia beds.

Thalassoma Pavo
Thalassoma Pavo

Distribution and habitat

It is widespread in the Mediterranean Sea and in the eastern Atlantic Ocean from Portugal to the coasts of Senegal. It lives shallow shallow depths, well illuminated, up to 30 meters, even if it goes up to 100. In recent years there has been a widening north of the range of this species, probably following the Southernization of the Mediterranean Sea.


Tapered body, golden yellow, tending to green or orange, with typical reticular designs on the head of blue color, 5 vertical stripes of the same color, a black spot between the second and third band. When young the body is completely green, except for the black patch. Protagonogical hermaphrodite, born a female and after a few years becomes a male, gradually changing the color up to lose all the blue bands and the black spot when adult. Up to 25 centimeters.

Biology Behavior

Curious, it is easily attracted by removing sediment from the bottom. The female specimens often move in large groups. Sometimes younger specimens feed on external parasites of larger fish, cleaning them.


It feeds on molluscs and crustaceans.


It is oviparous and protogynous hermaphrodite.


One of its main predators is the Mediterranean barracuda.


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