Common Name: Cow bream
Scientific Names: Sarpa salpa
Description: Ranging from shoals of juveniles around 5cm to shoals of mixed sized fish up to 40cm. These are often the biggest of the common seabream species seen in Maltese waters. They have a long, oval shaped body with a distinctively yellow colouration to the head, eyes and tail and fine yellow lines that run along the body. A silvery ‘flash’ of their flanks as they turn will often alert you to a shoal.
Distinctive Features: The yellow colouration of the body and fins is very distinctive.
Abundance: In shoals of tens of fish. Seen on every dive.
Habitat & Behaviour: They are seen over rock, sand and seagrass habitats feeding on sea bed species. They will swim and then stop to feed as a group and then move off again. As they mature they change sex from males to females.
Reaction to Snorkellers & Divers: Wary of surface diving snorkellers, less wary of divers.
Other Names: Salema
Text: Bob Earll
Photo: Russell & Gill Bennett
Video: Bob Earll