Dicentrarchus labrax

Super Group: 
Linnaeus 1758
Centropomus lupus (Lacepède, 1802)
Perca labrax (Linnaeus, 1758)


Diagnosis_Genus: Dicentrarchus Gill. Genus Labrici Cuv. simile, sed, preoperculo margine inferiore dentibus non validis, et pinna analis solum spinis duabus.

Diagnosis_Species: Perca labrax Linnaeus. P. pinnis dorsalibus distinctis, fecundae radiis I4. Gron. Act. Ups. 1750. p. 39. t. 4. D9, I/I14. P. I9. V. I/6. A. 3/I4. C. I8. Art. gen. 4I. Syn. 69. Perca radiis pinnae dorsalis fecindae I3, ani I4. D. 9, I3. P. I5. V. 6. A. 3/I4. C. -- Habitat in Europe australiore. Hic. Murena Helena, Myxo in Tripatino; Romae optimus inter duos pontes.

Other description (FAO): Body rather elongate.  Opercle with 2 flat spines; preopercle with large, forward-directed spines on its lower margin.  Mouth terminal, moderately protractile Vomerine teeth in a crescentic band, without a backward extension on midline of roof of mouth.  Two separate dorsal fins; the first with 8 to 10 spines; the second with 1 spine and 12 or 13 soft rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 10 to 12 soft rays.  Scales small; lateral line complete with 62 to 74 (mode 70), but not extending onto caudal fin. Caudal fin moderately forked. Colour silvery grey to bluish on the back, silvery on the sides, belly sometimes tinged with yellow. Young with some dark spots on upper part of body but adults never spotted. A diffuse spot on the edge of opercle. 

Body_adult_max_length: 103 cm (Fishbase)
Body_adult_common_length: 50 cm (Fishbase)
Body_egg_length: 1.07-1.32 mm (Devauchelle & Coves, 1988)
Body_sexual_maturity_female_length: 420 mm SL (IUCN)
Body_sexual_maturity_male_length: 350 mm SL (IUCN)
Body_larvae_10DPH_length: 6 mm (Glaucus)
Body_1year_length: 90 mm (Glaucus)
Body_2years_length: 160 mm (Glaucus)
Weight_max: 12 kg (Fishbase)
Weight_adult: 9-10 kg
Stage_duration_hatching: 115 hours (Devauchelle & Coves, 1988)



Dicentrarchus: Greek, di = two + Greek, kentron = sting + Greek, archos = anus (Fishbase).

Type species

The type species of the genus Dicentrarchus is Perca elongata (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1817).


Dicentrarchus labrax lives in Eastern Atlantic: Norway to Morocco, the Canary Islands and Senegal. Also known from the Mediterranean and Black Sea. Absent from White, Barents, Baltic and Caspian Seas (Fishbase).

The European sea bass is typically an inshore species found in the surf zone, around outcrops of rocks, and in shallow coastal waters. Because they are found to be capable of surviving in estuaries in almost fresh water, it is thought that they could adapt to life in fresh water. In British waters they are migratory, approaching inshore in spring and summer, and moving into deeper water in late autumn. They spawn in inshore areas (Animaldiversity).
Substrate: water
Salinity: marine
Salinity: brackish
Salinity: freshwater
Habitat: coastal
Habitat: estuarine
Habitat: lagoon
Oxygen_level: oxic
Depth: 10-100 m (Fishbase)
Temperature: 5-28°C (FAO)
Temperature_preferred: 11°C (Fishbase)
Temperature_reproduction: > 9°C (IUCN)
Depth_adult: demersal
Depth_egg: pelagic (Fishbase, FAO)
Sociability_adults: solitary (Glaucus)

Life cycle

The maximum life span reported for Dicentrarchus labrax is 30 years (Fishbase).
The mean life span for Dicentrarchus labrax is 15 years (ADW).
The average age at sexual maturity or reproductive maturity for female is 1460 days (4 years) and 730 days (2 years) for male (ADW).
Adult are piscivorous (IUCN).

Longevity: more than 3 years
Generation_time_male: 1 to 3 years
Generation_time_female: more than 3 years
Fertility_period: seasonal (during winter (December to March, in Mediterranean sea and up to June in Atlantic) (FAO)
Spawning_method: external fertilization in the water column (ADW)

Fecondity_number_of_eggs_per_adult: a quarter and half a million eggs per kilogram of her own body weight (ADW)

Feeding behaviour


Mode of locomotion

Motility: motile_swimming

Observation site(s)


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Association with... Region origin Name of site In reference...
Amyloodinium ocellatum
Amyloodinium ocellatum Aquarium Zoological Society of London