Languages: English


Comprehensive Description

The Sparidae includes around 100 species of fishes that are often known as porgies. They are deep-bodied, compressed, perchlike fishes with a small mouth located low on the head; the distance between the eye and mouth is noticeably long. The forehead is often steep in profile. There is a fleshy skin flap at the base of the pelvic fins and the caudal fin is usually forked. Porgies usually have canine teeth or incisors, but also have strong molars at the middle and rear of the jaws, including those in a pharyngeal "mill" used to crush and grind shellfish. Most species are plainly colored, silver to reddish or very dark, but some are striped (especially when young) or spotted. Most species are 30 to 60 cm or less in length, but a few reach twice this length; several species may reach 1.2 meters and 70 kg. Porgies are bottom-dwelling fishes of tropical and temperate seas, especially around Africa. A few species occur in cold water and some may enter brackish or fresh water. Many species are important food and sport fishes. In general, porgies are most common in bays and shallow coastal waters and banks where shellfishes are common; some species prefer seagrass beds and others are common around coral reefs. (Eschmeyer and Herald 1983; Robins and Ray 1986)

Author(s): Shapiro, Leo
Rights holder(s): Shapiro, Leo


Eschmeyer, W. N., & Herald E. S. (1983).  A Field Guide to Pacific Coast Fishes of North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Robins, C. R., & Ray G. C. (1986).  A Field Guide to Atlantic Coast Fishes of North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.