Diplodus capensis

Super Group: 
Smith 1844
Sargus capensis (Smith 1844)
Diplodus sargus capensis (Smith 1844)
Diplodus rondeleti (Smith 1844)


Diagnosis_Genus: Diplodus Rafinesque. Diplodus annularis. Raf. app. gen. 6. (Sparus annularis Linn., Sparus sparulus Lac.). Diplodo annellare. Sparajone impiriali. Genus Diplodus. Una sola ala dorsale principiando vicino al capo, un appendice squamosa vicino ad ogni ala toracina. Oss. Coatiene il Sparus annularis di Linneo ed. Sp. Variegatus di Lacepède.
Diagnosis_Species: Sargus capensis Smith. S. maculâ nigra subextremitatem posteriorem pinnae dorsalis; squamis infra oculos subquadrangularibus in ordinibus arcuatis dispositis; dentibus incisoribus in maxalla et in maudibula octo; pinnis ventralibus externe accuminuatis. Longitudo e naso ad apicem pinnae caudalis I4 une. Colour of dried skin. The top and the slides of the head, for some distance below the eyes, dull yellowish brown glossed with oil-green; the sides of the head inferiorly, and the entire body pale cream-yellow, with, towards and on the belly, a distinct tint of flesh-red: the scales narrowly edged with brownish red. On the tail immediately behind the posterior extremity of dorsal fin a large circular brownish red blotech. Dorsal and anal fins light, dull yellowish brown slightly shaded with brownish red; rays pale cream-yellow. Caudal, pectoral, and ventral fins light yellowish brown, rayed with brownish red. Form, &c.—Figure ovate ; dorsal outline between hinder extremity of dorsal fin, and a line carried upwards from the upper extremity of preoperculum, regularly arched ; anterior to the latter the profile is strongly inclined to the perpendicular ; ventral outline throughout slightly arched. Head small, and about a quarter of the length of the fish ; muzzle prominent and pointed ; lips large and pulpy. Nostrils double, situated close to the upper and anterior edge of the orbit, the one in front of the other. Incisor teeth of upper jaw oblique, eight in number, closely set, rather broad particularly towards the points, and the two middle ones considerably the largest ; the outermost of each side is smaller than the second. The elbow existing at hinder edge internally is but slightly developed, and the portion of each tooth between the cutting and hinder edges is concave. Incisors oi' lower jaw subhorizontal, eight in number, all in contact with each other, and the last of each side rather the smallest; they are of moderate width, their edges formed for cutting, and the base or neck of each, as seen on looking into the mouth, is lengthened, narrow, and laterally compressed. Molars in both jaws subhemispherical, varying in size, and arranged in two or three irregular rows. In the upper jaw, hesides the molars, there exists also externally to them a narrow band of short filamentary teeth. Scapulary scale large and semicircular, Lateral line slightly and regularly curved ; it commences at the upper extremity of the operculum, and terminates near the middle of the caudal fin, and towards and on the latter consists of short, slender, simple tubes. Preoperculum excepting towards its margin, operculum and interoperculum covered with scales, the other parts of head smooth and without scales; the scales of preoperculum sub-quadrangular, and disposed in arched rows, the convexity of which is downwards and backwards. Scales covering the body large, somewhat six-sided ; those towards the back in rows extending obliquely from before backwards towards the belly in nearly vertical rows. Scales on base of fins small and irregularly shaped. Dorsal fin arched, the sixth spinous ray the longest, the first about half the length of the second ; the cartilaginous rays nearly of equal length, and shorter than the spinous ones. Anal fin slightly arched, the second and third spiny rays nearly of equal length and longest, the third the strongest. Pectoral fins long, the fourth ray the longest; ventral fins rather long and pointed, the first soft ray being much longer than the innermost one. Caudal fin deeply forked, the upper and under extremes very pointed. Length from nose to commencement of dorsal fin 5 inches 2 lines, to pectoral fin 4 inches ; the base of ventrals directly under the commencement of the dorsal fin. Length from nose to middle of hinder edge of caudal fin 14 inches.
B. 7; D. I/I 2/3; P. I6; V. I/5; A. 3/I4; C. I9
Found in the same localities with S. Hottentotus, and consumes the same description of food. The shape of the scales below the eyes, the length of the ventral fins, the smaller number of incisor teeth and the greater number of molars, together with many other minor differences, constitute characters by which this species is readily to be distinguished from S. Hottentotus.

Body_adults_length_mean: 30 cm
Body_adults_length_max: 45 cm
Body_juvenile_length: 211 mm (Mann & Buxton, 1998)
Body_sexual_maturity_length: 150-225 mm (Richardson et al., 2011)
Body_egg_length: 0.89-0.94 mm (fisheggs-and-larvae.saiab)
Sequence_D-loop: AF365346, AF365347 (Summerer et al. 2001)
Sequence_16sRNA: AF365361 (Summerer et al. 2001)
Weight: 2.7 kg (IUCN)


The name of the genus come from the Greek “diplous” = two, and “odous” = tooth, therefore “double tooth”, with reference to the incisors, present on both jaws.

Type species

The type species of the genus Diplodus is Sparus annularis (Linnaeus 1758).

Type illustration / Type locality / Type specimen

Type Illustration: Plate XXIII, Fig. 2 (Smith, 1845)


Diplodus capensis lives in Southeast Atlantic and Western Indian Ocean: Angola to Mozambique and southern Madagascar, possibly reaching Mauritius  (Fishbase).
Habitat: coastal
Habitat: estuarine
Substrate: water
Sociability_adults: gregarious
Salinity: marine
Depth: 0-50 m (Fishbase)
Depth_eggs: pelagic
Depth_larvae: pelagic
Oxygen_level: oxic

Life cycle

The maximum life span reported for Diplodus capensis is 21 years in South Africa (Richardson et al., 2011).
Size at 50% maturity was calculated at 211 mm FL. This corresponded to an age of three years (Mann & Buxton, 1998). Diplodus capensis reached sexual maturity at a relatively small size (149.5 mm FL) and young age (1.6–1.8 y) (Richardson et al., 2011).
Diplodus capensis showed an extended spawning season, peaking in Spring (August to October), but with relatively high GSI values being recorded throughout summer until March (Mann & Buxton, 1998).
Sexual dimorphism was observed in pre-dorsal and pre-anal lengths, caudal stalk height and eye diameter, with growth being more rapid among females (Benchalel & Kara, 2012).
Diplodus capensis is a non migratory species.

Longevity: more than 3 years
Generation_time: 1 to 3 years
Reproduction_mode: sexual_hermaphrodite_partially protandrous
Spawning_method: external fertilization in the water column
Fertility_period: seasonal (during summer),

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 Aquarium Zoological Society of London