Tordo Verde - Symphodus roissali

Symphodus roissali Tordo Verde Five-spotted wrasse –

Symphodus roissali (Risso, 1810), commonly known as Five-spotted wrasse, is a marine bony fish belonging to the Labridae family.

Habitat and distribution

Widespread in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, from the Gulf of Gascony to Gibraltar, the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea.

It lives at very shallow depths on rocky bottoms rich in vegetation and in Posidonia meadows.


It has a similar appearance to the other Symphodus, its shape is tall and its snout is rather short. The background color is light beige or brown, the prairie specimens often have bright green color. The livery is the most important character for the determination of this species even if, as in almost all Symphodus, this is very variable between individual and individual, between male and female and between specimens in reproduction and not. It is probably the labride with the most variable livery of the Mediterranean. The characters always (or almost) present are a dark line between the eye and the muzzle and some similar lines oblique on the throat, five dark spots on the back that border in the dorsal fin which often follow other similar vertical spots to form 5 bands indistinct vertical (highly variable character) and a dark speck in the central part of the caudal peduncle, which may sometimes be missing. There are three main liveries:

the dark-colored livery, common in the individuals who live among the posidonia, has three continuous horizontal bands, the highest of which runs immediately under the dorsal fin the male livery, in which the lines on the throat take a bright blue or green color, the eye is bordered with red and two evident black spots are present in the back part of the dorsal fin. In this livery often the background color is brick red and is often quite varied rather than having well-defined bands the reproductive female livery in which the background color is light or greenish brown with dark spots in greater numbers in the ventral region. Measure up to 17 cm in length.


He can live up to 8 years. It is very territorial.


In spring the male builds a rather large hemispherical nest with algae and sand. After the deposition the male guards the nest and oxygenates it with movements of the caudal fin.


It is carnivorous. It feeds mainly on mollusks (bivalves, gasteropods), shrimps, sea urchins and hydroids.

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Tordo Verde – Symphodus roissali

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