Striped Seabream – Lithognathus mormyrus

The Striped Seabream, also known as Sand Steenbras, is a species in the family of Sparidae and thus belongs to the superclass of the bony fish.

Striped Seabream Sand Steenbras Lithognathus mormyrus Osteichthyes bony fish diving canary islands species atlantic ocean
Striped Seabream – Lithognathus mormyrus


Lithognathus mormyrus has an elongated, laterally compressed, silvery body. The head is very flattened with a broad mouth and thick lips. From the end of the head to the tail fin, it has 14-15 vertical, black stripes. These are alternately somewhat thicker and thinner.

It reaches a maximum length of 55cm.

Habitat and Distribution

Usually, the Striped Seabream is found above sandy or muddy ground and sea grass meadows, near rocky reefs. It can be seen to a depth of 150m.

When diving in the Canaries you can often observe it.

Lithognathus mormyrus is also spread from the Bay of Biscay in the south-west of the atlantic coast of France, along the European and African coast, all the way to South Africa. Furthermore it is distributed around islands such as the Azores, Madeira, Cape Verde, São Tomé. Lithognathus mormyrus inhabits the Mediterranean Sea and Sea of Marmara too, as well as at the coast of Mozambique.


Lithognathus mormyrus lives in small groups or even large swarms. Sometimes it is also mixed with other species, such as White Seabreams or the European Parrotfish.

Its diet consists of crustaceans, snails, worms and mussels. To find their prey, they graze rocks or eat sand and spit out uneatable material directly. Young fish also feed on detritus.

While the adult Striped Seabream lives deeper than 10m deep, you can find young fishes at less depth.

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