Sparidae – Sea Breams

The Sea Breams are a family of the superclass of bony fish. Although half of all known species live in South African waters, we can observe more than 20 Sea Breams while diving in the Canary Islands. Among the Sparidae, there are omnivores, but also pure plant or carnivores. In addition, they are often hermaphroditic or change sex in the course of their lives.


Sparidae are high-backed fish with a laterally compressed body. They usually have a silver base colour with black stripes and / or a black spot between body and tail. Blue, red and yellow colours also occur sometimes.

Sea Breams have a continuous dorsal fin with 10 to 13 fin spines and 10 to 15 soft rays, while the anterior rays are sometimes being lengthened filiform. Their anal fins have three spines and 8 to 14 soft rays. While the pelvic fins are long and taper, the tail fin is bifurcated or at least notched.

Sparidae have 24 vertebrae. Of these 10 are in the trunk and 14 belong to the tail vertebrae.

The jaw teeth are adapted to the nutritional mode of the individual species and are accordingly designed as cutting, catching or grinding teeth.

The body of the Sea Breams is covered by ctenoid scales, although in some species they can almost be cycloid scales.

Species of Sea Breams on the Canary Islands