Comber – Serranus cabrilla

The Comber is a species in the order of the Perciformes and thus belongs to the superclass of the bony fish.

Comber - Serranus cabrilla martin Osteichthyes bony fish diving canary islands species atlantic ocean
Comber – Serranus cabrilla
Copyright: Martin Majewski


Serranus cabrilla has a light background colour with two brown longitudinal stripes, one of which runs through the eye. In addition, it has bright, vertical strips from the head to the tail fin. Its back is light grey to light brown. The tail fin has bright points and the posterior edge runs into black. The back and anterior fins also have bright spots.

The eyes of the Comber are slightly protruding, and the lower jaw surpasses the upper jaw.

It reaches a maximum size of 40cm.

Habitat and Distribution

The Comber lives on rocky reefs, sea grass meadows or above sandy soils, down to a depth of 500m. When diving in the Canaries you can observe it rather seldom. On La Palma, it does not seem to appear at all.

Its general distribution area covers the entire Mediterranean Sea, the western Black Sea and the eastern Atlantic from Great Britain to South Africa, as well as the Azores, Madeira and the Cape Verde Islands.


Serranus cabrilla is territorial. It lives predatory and feeds on small fish, crustaceans and cephalopods.
The Comber is a hermaphrodite. That means, they have functioning male and female germs. Whether self-fertilization is possible is not known.
In the Mediterranean Sea, its reproduction takes place from April to July, while in the northern Atlantic it is somewhat later.