Common Name: Pandora
Scientific Names: Dentex gibbosus
Description: Those seen in the area are mostly 10 – 20cm long and are young or juveniles, which live close to the shore. The body is deep and relatively longer than other seabream such as the Two-banded Seabream. The distinguishing features underwater are the blue fringes to pelvic, anal, tail and dorsal fins. They may have a pinkish background colour but this is not usually visible without a torch. Adults have a distinctively humped head but we have not seen any like this in Malta.
Distinctive Features: A very silvery fish with distinctive blue fringes to its fins and a very obvious habit of stopping suddenly and then moving on again.
Abundance: At particular locations such as Marsalforn Bay you can see 10+ fish scattered across the sandy seabed.
Habitat & Behaviour: In Malta these fish live over sand. They feed independently but also follow other fish in feeding groups. The younger fish are all males but larger males can change sex and become female. These large females (as well as large males) have a humped head.
Reaction to Snorkellers & Divers: Very wary of surface diving snorkellers and are not worth chasing. Seemingly indifferent to divers.
Other Names: Lump-headed bream and Pink dentex.
Other Notes: Although called dentex rather than seabream, they are in the same family as seabream and are similar in overall shape (see 2, 3, 4, 26, 38). Other species of dentex also occur in the area.
Text: Bob Earll
Photo: Julia Jagoditsch
Video: Julia Jagoditsch