Natural Habitat: This wrasse lives mostly on rocky areas which offer lots of hiding places, or near Poseidonia beds.
Depth: 1-50 meters. Usually up to 20 meters.
Size: 20-25cm. But there are reports of specimens growing up to 35cm.
Food: It feeds on algae and small crustaceans.
Distribution: Mediterranean Sea. Black Sea. Northern Spain to Morocco.
Common name: Peacock wrasse
Breeding: Although I have not seen it being reported till today, they actually show an excellent parental parental care which is comparable (if not better) than the one shown by cichlids. As I was swimming with the camera, I saw about 20 little fish, which were staring at me. I tried to dive towards them to take the picture, but as soon as I started to dive I saw a larger fish rushing towards them. After moving weirdly around them it left and - to my surprise - all the juveniles were following it! I took a picture of the larger fish - with the smaller ones behind it - and I tried to see if it was actually one of the parents or just a fish of the same species, which was there by accident. Therefore, I dived towards them and I tried to scare them. The large fish run away immediately and all the smaller ones followed it. It was surely one of the parents but from the pictures I cannot understand whether it was the male or the female. Judging by the size of the juveniles that they were about two months old, so they spawn from May to June. The striking sight of the S. tinca taking care of its juveniles was the highlight of this summer.
General Information: It is the most abundant wrasse in the Mediterranean Sea. It doesn’t have tasty meat, so it is not hunted by humans. Suitable for aquariums over 500 liters. Very easily acclimatized - as most wrasses - and quite easy to keep in captivity. If frightened it will either hide between Poseidonia leaves or it stay motionless against a rock (see top left photo).
Text and photos by John Reclos / MCH