Diplodus vulgaris

Super Group: 
Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire 1817
Sargus vulgaris (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire 1817)
Sargus salviani (Valenciennes 1830)


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 vulgaris Saint-Hilaire. La Sargue ordinaire. This species, called by Arab chargouch (i.e. sea rat), much looks like the previous one (Sargus raucus) by its size and proportions; but she has the anal fin slightly more anterior and the caudal fin deeply forked. Each jaw has eight incisors, there are comparable by their form to those of man; other teeth are hemispherical molars, equal between them and whose provision is quite regular. Colors of this Sargus are quite remarkable: the body is usually silvery white, with six blackish bands, transverse, narrow, and with a large number of dark longitudinal lines. The outer edges of the caudal and anal fins and two ventral rays, are blackish. Finally, towards the termination of the dorsal and anal fins, a large black spot can be seen, which not only occupies the upper part of the shank but which extends vertically over the entire height, and is thus disposed rings. The eyes, which are, as in all Sparus, circular and large, have a brown iris with a blue circle around the pupil.

Other description (Photomazza): Typically oval and flat, rather tall, has modest size. Even if it may reach the 45 cm, it seldom exceeds the 30 cm and the most commonly fished specimens measure 20-25 cm with a weight of 500-600 kg. The mouth is small, with 8 incisors per jaw followed by two rows of molars. The dorsal fin, unique, has 11-12 spiny rays and 14-15 soft; the anal 3 spiny and 14 soft; the ventral ones have one spine only and 5 soft rays. The pectoral ones are long and falciform, the caudal is slightly forked. The body is unmistakable. Paler and brighter than its congeners, it has two great vertical black bands: the first goes from the head to the beginning of the dorsal fin, and the second precedes the tail, spreading in the juveniles also to the last part of the dorsal and the anal. Thin golden stripes, but nothing to do with the wide ones of the Saupe (Sarpa salpa), are visible on the sides, especially in the juveniles. During the reproductive period, the head assumes a typical bluish colouration and, between the eyes, on the front, appears a brown band.

Body_adults_length: 25-30 cm (Wikipedia)
Body_adults_length_max: 45 cm
Body_juveniles_length: < 17 cm (Fishbase)
Sequence_16sRNA: AJ247294, AJ247295 (Summerer et al. 2001), AJ247294 (Meynard et al., 2012)
Sequence_D-loop: AF365325, AF365326 (Summerer et al. 2001)
Sequence_Cytb: AJ277370 (Jousson et al., 2000), DQ197947 (Meynard et al., 2012)
Sequence_Rhod: DQ197849 (Meynard et al., 2012)
Sequence: EU036438 (Chiba et al., 2009)
Weight_max: 1.3 kg (Fishbase)
Weight: 500-600 g (Photomazza)


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. The name of the species comes from the Latin “vulgaris” = common, and, as a matter of fact, it is quite easy to fish.

Type species

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

Type illustration / Type locality / Type specimen

Type illustration: Plate 18, Fig. 2 (Saint Hilaire, 1817)


Juveniles are omnivorous and adults are carnivorous (Wikipedia).
Diplodus vulgaris lives in Eastern Atlantic: Bay of Biscay to Cape Verde and the Canary Islands including the Mediterranean and Black Sea (off Bulgaria); also from Angola to South Africa (Fishbase).
No sexual dimorphism.

Sociability: gregarious
Habitat: coastal
Substrate: water
Sociability_adults: gregarious
Salinity: marine
Depth: 0-160 m (Fishbase)
Depth_usually: 0-30 m (Fishbase)
Depth_larvae (1cm): pelagic (DORIS)
Depth_eggs: pelagic (DORIS)
Depth_adult: sedentary_pelagic (Loy et al., 1998)
Temperature_preferred: 18°C (Fishbase)
Sociability: gregarious (DORIS)
Oxygen_level: oxic

Life cycle

Diplodus vulgaris reach his sexual matiruty at 2 years old (17 cm) (DORIS).
No sexual dimorphism.
The mean fecundity obtained for D. vulgaris through the direct summation procedure was 15437 ± 1126 eggs per fish (Taieb et al., 2013).

Fertility_number_of_eggs_per_adult: 15437 eggs (Taieb et al., 2013)
Longevity: more than 3 years
Generation_time: 1 to 3 years (DORIS)
Reproduction_mode: sexual_hermaphrodite_protandrous
Spawning_method: external fertilization in the water column
Fertility_period: seasonal (during autumn) (DORIS)

Feeding behaviour


Mode of locomotion

Motility: motile_swimming

Original description

Histoire naturelle des poissons de la Mer Rouge et de la Méditerranée

Hilaire IGeoffroy S (1817) Histoire naturelle des poissons de la Mer Rouge et de la Méditerranée. Dans: Description de l'Égypte: ou recueil des observations et des recherches qui ont été faites en Égypte pendant l'expédition de l'armée française, publié par les ordres de Sa Majesté l'Empereur Napoléon le Grand.


Study of fecundity for Diplodus vulgaris (Teleost, Sparidae) in Gulf of Gabes

Taieb AHadj (2013) Study of fecundity for Diplodus vulgaris (Teleost, Sparidae) in Gulf of Gabes. Dans: Ghorbel M (éd) International Conference on " Oceanography & Sustainable Marine Production: A Challenge of Managing Marine Resources under Climate Change, ICOSMaP”. Kuantan- Malaysia,

Observation site(s)


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Amyloodinium ocellatum Aquarium Zoological Society of London