Salema - Salpa sarpa

In this video

Salema Salpa sarpa is one of the most common and easiest to meet Sparidae species in Mediterranean Sea. It is a gregarious fish that lives in held of even numerous individuals. In this video we see it in various conditions and habitats that it shares together with other spawners such as Seabreams, but also together with predators such as Sea bass which often herd among the salema to hide and hunt other prey.

Salema - Salpa sarpa - Salpa -
Salema – Salpa sarpa – Salpa –

Distribution and habitat
Salema is present throughout the Mediterranean, as well as in the eastern Atlantic: from the Bay of Biscay to South Africa.

It is a strictly coastal species found from the surface up to (exceptionally) 70 meters of depth; normally it does not exceed 20 meters and is also found in very shallow waters. It populates rocky seabeds with the growth of aquatic plants and Posidonia oceanica meadows.

The body has the typical shape of the Sparidae, flattened at the sides, with the back and belly equally convex. The caudal peduncle is thin, the caudal fin forked and with pointed lobes. The eyes are quite small. The mouth is small, placed at the apex of the snout and turned slightly downwards, equipped with pointed teeth used to scrape algae from the rocks. The dorsal fin has the front part with little robust spiny rays and is quite low, as well as the anal fin, which has 3 spiny rays.

Salema - Salpa sarpa - Salpa -
Salema – Salpa sarpa – Salpa –

The color is silver with a gray-blue back, silver sides crossed horizontally by 10/12 thin golden stripes. A dark spot is present at the junction of the pectoral fins. The eyes are golden. The tail and fins are greenish blue except the ventral fins which are transparent. It reaches a length of 50 cm and a weight of 3 kg but normally does not exceed the 30 cm per 1 kg.

Gregarious species that forms dense numerous and well disciplined shoals that move quickly among the rocks. This fish has a very powerful swim that produces a vibration that can be felt by divers.

It is mainly a herbivorous fish, it particularly appreciates the green algae Ulva lactuca or seafood salad. When young, it feeds mainly on annelids, crustaceans and other invertebrates.

Protandric hermaphrodite, the salpa is born male and then becomes female during growth. The eggs are laid in the fall.

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