Scientia Marina, Vol 70, No 1 (2006)

Observations on the reproductive cycle, age and growth of the salema, Sarpa salpa (Osteichthyes: Sparidae) along the western central coast of Italy

Alessandro Criscoli
Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e dell’Uomo, Università “La Sapienza” di Roma, Italy

Francesco Colloca
Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e dell’Uomo, Università “La Sapienza” di Roma, Italy

Paolo Carpentieri
Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e dell’Uomo, Università “La Sapienza” di Roma, Italy

Andrea Belluscio
Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e dell’Uomo, Università “La Sapienza” di Roma, Italy

Giandomenico Ardizzone
Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e dell’Uomo, Università “La Sapienza” di Roma, Italy


The sexual maturation and the growth of the salema, Sarpa salpa (Linnaeus, 1758), along the Italian Mediterranean coast (central Italy), were studied in fish (n = 105) killed incidentally by underwater explosions during the construction of Civitavecchia harbour in 1999 and specimens collected with trammel nets (n = 339). This species is characterized by a protandric hermaphroditism and the sex change process occurs between 24 and 31 cm TL corresponding to a wide range of ages (3-7 years). Size at maturity (L50) was 19.5 cm, at which almost all the individuals were males. Two distinct spawning periods were observed: one in spring, from March to May, and the other in autumn, from the end of September to November. During the first year, compensatory growth occurred in the individuals born in the two periods. An annual regular pattern of ring deposition was identified in the otoliths: the translucent ring was laid down during the winter months, while the opaque ring was formed during the summer months. Back-calculated lengths at age were used to estimate the parameters of the Von Bertalanffy growth equation which were: L = 37.27 cm, K = 0.27 year-1 and t0 = -0.53 year. Salema showed isometric growth (b = 3.04; P = 0.84; t = 0.19).


reproduction; protandrous; lengths-at-age; otoliths

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