Body deep and compressed. Terminal mouth at the lower part of head with distinct lips. Jaws extend back to vertical of center of eye. At the anterior of each jaw 4-6 string compressed teeth, followed by 4-6 rows of molar teeth. A single dorsal fin, the 3rd spine is the longest. The 2nd anal fin spine the longest. Caudal fin forked. Pectoral fin pointed. Pelvic fin rounded. Ctenoid scales cover the entire body and head including the base of dorsal and anal fins.
body silver-grey. Two vertical black bars on the head, the anterior runs through the eye and the posterior from the nape through the posterior edge of the operculum. Dorsal, caudal and pectoral fins yellow. Anal and pelvic fins dark grey to black.
common 5-40 cm (max. 50 cm).
Diplodus vulgaris: black band touching the origin of dorsal fin; annular band on the caudal peduncle; no yellow fins.
Diplodus cervinus, Diplodus sargus and Pagrus auriga: vertical bars on the body.
Other sparids: no vertical bars.
BIOLOGY / ECOLOGY
Feeds mainly on mollusks and to a lesser extent on other benthic invertebrates.
shallow waters in open areas and near coral and rocks. Eggs and larvae planktonic. Juveniles found in shallow sandy shores, using it as a nursery ground.