Thalassoma pavo

Super Group: 
Linnaeus 1758
Julis blochii (Valenciennes, 1839)
Labrus pavo (Linnaeus, 1758)
Labrus leo (Rafinesque, 1810)


Diagnosis_Genus: Thalassoma Swainson. General aspect of Zyrichthys, but the muzzle becomes suddenly more advanced, and the eyes are lower; ventrals longer than the pectorals.

Diagnosis_Species: Labrus pavo Linnaeus. L. viridi caeruleo sanguineo canoque varius, cauda bifida. Art. gen. 34 Syn. 55. Labrus pulchre varius, pinnis pectoralibus rotundatis. Hasselqv. iter. 344. n. 77. Labrus pavo. B. 6. D. 31. P. 14. V. 6. A. 3/14. C. 16. Habitat in M. Mediterraneo ad Syriam.

Other description (cotebleue): The body is elongated, of oval section and compressed laterally, like that of the Girelle but with a shorter muzzle.
Female: The back is brown or green, hatched from 4 to 6 transverse stripes sky blue. At mid-side, the color darkens to let appear as rectangular marks between the transverse bands. The belly is bright yellow in its anterior part, more blurred behind. The entire body is finely streaked in the transverse direction. The head is brown to mauve in its upper part, orange below. It is multicolored with interlaced lines sky blue. The lips are also blue.
The dorsal and anal fins are colored blue, green, orange and light red. The caudal fin is marked with blue and orange at its extreme rays, clear in the middle. The ventrale fins are bluish and the pectorales clear.
Male: The body is more united in its posterior part, greenish and finely streaked with reddish orange in the transverse direction. Behind the head, the coloration is cut by a broad, highly colored transverse band. The head is pink mauve interlaced with blue as the female. The fins are tinted with various blues and mauve.

Body_adult_length: 10-20 cm (DORIS)
Body_adult_max_length: 25 cm (DORIS)
Weight: 20-25 g


The name of the genus comes from the Greek “thalassa” = sea and “soma” = body; it is therefore an animal having the colour of the sea. The Latin name of the species, “pavo” = peacock, emphasizes that it is a very beautiful fish (PhotoMazza).

Type species

The type species of the genus Thalassoma is Scarus purpureus (Forsskal, 1775).


Thalassamo pavo lives in Eastern Atlantic: Portugal to south of Cape Lopez, Gabon and including the islands of Azores, Madeira, Canary, São Tomé and Annobon and also in the Mediterranean (Fishbase).

Substrate: water
Salinity: marine
Habitat: coastal
Depth: 1-150 m (Fishbase)
Depth_usually: 1-50 m (Fishbase)
Depth_egg: pelagic (Fishbase)
Depth_larvae: pelagic (weheartdiving)
Temperature: 16-25°C (Aquabase)
pH: 8-8.3 (Aquabase)
Temperature_preferred: 21°C (Fishbase)
Sociability: gregarious
Oxygen_level: oxic

Life cycle

Sexual dimorphism: male are bigger than female. The colors of the head are differents between male and female.

Reproduction_mode: sexual_hermaphrodite_protogynous
Fertility_period: seasonal (during summer (June to October, DORIS)
Spawning_method: external fertilization in the water column

Feeding behaviour


Mode of locomotion

Motility: motile_swimming

Observation site(s)


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Amyloodinium ocellatum Aquarium Zoological Society of London