Diplodus sargus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Sparidae

Scientific Name: Diplodus sargus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English White Seabream
Sparus sargus Linnaeus, 1758
Taxonomic Notes: Diplodus sargus as presently recognized is an assemblage of genetically closely related species whose current taxonomic assignments of species and subspecies are somewhat inconsistent and require further work (Summerer et al. 2001, Domingues et al. 2007). Pending more detailed population genetic work, the six subspecies of D. sargus, are retained in individual species accounts but are not separated in the parents species account.  

Two geographic subspecies of Diplodus sargus have been recognised in the European region: Diplodus sargus subspecies sargus in the Mediterranean; and Diplodus sargus subspecies cadeneti in the northeastern Atlantic - from the Bay of Biscay to Senegal, including the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands (Summerer et al. 2001). Only weak genetic differentiation is found for the European subspecies of D. sargus (Bargelloni et al. 2005) that is not associated with the transition between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, contradicting the separation into distinct sub-species of the Mediterranean and Atlantic D. sargus populations, classified as D. s. sargus and D. s. cadenati, respectively (De la Paz et al. 1973, Bauchot and Hureau 1986).

Diplodus sargus requires taxonomic revisions and there may also be two forms in the Persian Gulf (Y. Iwatsuki pers. comm. 2013).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2011-03-30
Assessor(s): Pollard, D., Russell, B., Carpenter, K.E., Iwatsuki, Y., Vega-Cendejas, M., Jassim Kawari, A., Hartmann, S., Alnazry, H., Abdulqader, E., Alam, S., Bishop, J., Hassan-Al-Khalf, K. & Kaymaram, F.
Reviewer(s): de Morais, L.
Contributor(s): Comeros-Raynal, M. & Gorman, C.

Diplodus sargus
is widespread in the eastern Atlantic, occurring to 150 m depth. This species is harvested throughout its range and has experienced some localized declines and possible reduction in size. However, this species is very widespread and no significant global declines have been recorded. It is therefore listed as Least Concern. 

Persian Gulf

Diplodus sargus is one of the most common sparid species in the Persian Gulf and comprises a major part of the sparid catch in Kuwait. It is therefore listed as Least Concern for the region.


This species is commercially important throughout its European range but is widespread, and locally abundant. It is listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Diplodus sargus is widespread, ranging from the Bay of Biscay, throughout the Mediterranean, along the West coast of Africa (Carpenter in prep.), including Cape Verde, the Canaries, Ascension Island (Bauchot and Hureau 1990), Helena Island, and in the Persian Gulf (Manilo and Bogorodsky 2003). This species occurs to 150 m depth (Pajuelo and Lorenzo 2002). 

Countries occurrence:
Albania; Algeria; Bahrain; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Cape Verde; Croatia; Cyprus; Egypt; France; Georgia; Gibraltar; Greece; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Italy (Italy (mainland), Sicilia); Kuwait; Lebanon; Libya; Malta; Mauritania; Monaco; Montenegro; Morocco; Oman; Portugal; Qatar; Romania; Russian Federation; Saudi Arabia; Slovenia; Spain; Syrian Arab Republic; Tunisia; Turkey; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; Western Sahara
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – southeast; Atlantic – northeast; Atlantic – eastern central; Indian Ocean – western; Mediterranean and Black Sea
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):150
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Diplodus sargus is very common and abundant in appropriate habitats throughout the Mediterranean and is locally abundant in the Persian Gulf (Y. Iwatsuki and K. Carpenter pers. comm. 2013). This species is also common in the eastern Atlantic region from the Bay of Biscay to Cape Verde. FAO catch statistics from the Mediterranean show a steady increase up to 1,000 tonnes landings per year from around 1980 to 2005. However, it is unclear if this increase in landings figures is due to increased effort, increased reporting or increasing populations. In southern Portugal this species alone represents up to 29% of the total catch by weight (Erzini et al. 1996).

Larger individuals are mainly observed within marine protected areas, which may indicate some overfishing even if populations do not show any declines (P. Francour pers. comm.).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Diplodus sargus inhabits shallow coastal waters on rocky, rough sandy and reef bottoms to 50 m depth (Bauchot and Smith 1984, Carpenter et al. 1997). The juveniles are present over shallow sandy bottoms and enter lagoons during spring and return to the sea in autumn, whereas adults prefer deeper rocky areas covered by seaweed. The juveniles are omnivores (eating mainly algae, worms, small molluscs and hydrozoans), and the adults are carnivores (eating worms, molluscs, crustaceans and echinoderms) (Fischer et al. 1987). The maximum length for this species is 45 cm and it can live to 12 years of age (Pajuelo and Lorenzo 2002). Diplodus sargus exhibits protandrous hermaphroditism (Abou-Seedo et al. 1990, Pajuelo and Lorenzo 2002) but has also been described as a rudimentary hermaphrodite exhibiting partial protandry (Mouine et al. 2007). 

Generation length for D. sargus from the eastern Atlantic is estimated to be about seven years, using the following equation for a gonochoristic fish species: Generation length = Σxlxmx/Σlxmx
Generation Length (years):7

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Diplodus sargus is primarily taken by artisanal fishers and is captured using traps, gill net, and handlines, and can be caught as bycatch in shrimp trawls (Pajuelo and Lorenzo 2002, Y. Iwatsuki pers comm. 2013). Several attempts have been made to introduce the species in aquaculture in the Mediterranean (Abellan and Garcia-Alcazar 1995, Bodington 2000, Kentouri et al. 1995). Many of these attempts to farm this species have been hindered by the slow growth of the species in captivity after the first year of life. In many cases, this slow growth reduces the profitability of commercial production (D’Anna et al. 2004).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No major threats have been identified for this species; however, localized overfishing and size reduction as a result, are potential threats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In the Canary Islands, the minimum landing size for this species is 22 cm (Pajuelo and Lorenzo 2002). It occurs in some marine protected areas within its range (World Database of Protected Areas, accessed March 2014)

Citation: Pollard, D., Russell, B., Carpenter, K.E., Iwatsuki, Y., Vega-Cendejas, M., Jassim Kawari, A., Hartmann, S., Alnazry, H., Abdulqader, E., Alam, S., Bishop, J., Hassan-Al-Khalf, K. & Kaymaram, F. 2014. Diplodus sargus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T170155A42736975. . Downloaded on 15 October 2018.
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