Symphodus ocellatus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Symphodus ocellatus
Species Authority: (Forsskål, 1775)
Common Name(s):
English Ocellated Wrasse
French Ruchè, Crénilabre ocellé, Soultan
Spanish Tordo
Labrus ocellatus Forsskål, 1775

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2014-02-27
Assessor(s): Pollard, D.
Reviewer(s): Craig, M.T., Nieto, A., García, M. & Allen, D.J.

This species is present throughout the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, where there appear to be no known major threats to its populations. Although there is no specific population information available, its populations are thought to be stable. It is therefore listed as Least Concern.

2010 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is found throughout most of the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Marmara, though it is rare in the Levant. It is also present in the western and northwestern Black Sea and the Sea of Azov (Golani et al. 2006). Its lower depth limit is 30 metres, while its upper depth limit is one metre below sea level (Louisy 2005).
Albania; Algeria; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Cyprus; Egypt (Egypt (African part), Sinai); France (Corsica, France (mainland)); Gibraltar; Greece (East Aegean Is., Greece (mainland), Kriti); Israel; Italy (Italy (mainland), Sardegna, Sicilia); Lebanon; Libya; Malta; Monaco; Montenegro; Morocco; Romania; Russian Federation (South European Russia); Slovenia; Spain (Baleares, Spain (mainland), Spanish North African Territories); Syrian Arab Republic; Tunisia; Turkey (Turkey-in-Asia, Turkey-in-Europe); Ukraine (Krym, Ukraine (main part))
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Mediterranean and Black Sea
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is relatively common throughout most of the Mediterranean Sea, but is less abundant along the coast of the Levant. The population is considered stable.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species lives in small groups, mainly over algal-covered rocky substrates, but also in seagrass beds. It feeds on bryozoans, hydroids, tubiculous polychaete worms, shrimps, amphipods and molluscs. The young fish may act as cleaners of other fishes.

It is a protogynous hermaphrodite, and the male builds, maintains and guards a nest made of seaweed (Cystoseira), in which several females lay their eggs (Golani et al. 2006). The age of maturity of the female is one year, while for the male is between one and two years. Its maximum size is 12 cm (TL) (Louisy 2005). It is a non migrant species and congregatory year-round, at least in small groups (D. Pollard pers. comm. 2014).
Systems: Marine

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species may be sold for food when caught in local artisanal fisheries, where it is probably used mainly in fish soup.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no known major threats to this species, although it may be sold for food when caught in local artisanal fisheries. Moreover, its inshore rocky reef and shallow seagrass habitats may be threatened by habitat degradation and pollution. The invasive introduced tropical alga Caulerpa taxifolia poses a threat to this species (Verlaque and Fritayre 1994, Villela and Verlaque 1995), but also to its algal and seagrass habitats, mainly based on Cystoseira algal beds, which are highly sensitive to changes in water quality (Sales et al. 2011).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no specific conservation measures in place for this species. Its distribution overlaps with several marine protected areas within its range. However, there is a need for conservation actions, regarding resource and habitat protection of seagrass and rocky algal reef habitats, where control of the invasive species Caulerpa taxifolia needs to be undertaken as well, enabling this way restoration of the habitats. Creation of awareness must be carried out in order to prevent water pollution, habitat degradation and control of the invasive alga species. To this matter, policies and regulations need to be strengthened.

More research is also needed regarding the species' population size, distribution and trends, harvest, use and livelihoods, life history and threats. Monitoring is needed as well regarding population, harvest and habitat trends.

Citation: Pollard, D. 2014. Symphodus ocellatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 31 March 2015.
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