• European seabass

Latin name

Dicentrarchus labrax

Other names

European bass, sea bass, common bass, white bass, capemouth, white salmon, sea perch, white mullet, sea dace, Loup de Mer.


The generic Latin name is derived from the Ancient Greek δύο - two, κέντρον - barb and πρωκτός - anus, reflecting the presence of barbed rays in the anal fin.

Body elongate, slightly compressed at the sides, covered with large ctenoid scales. Scales are cycloid on occiput and interorbital space. Body length is less than head length, 3.6-4.8 times the standard body length. The head is conical in shape, its length is 3-4 times the standard body length. The diameter of the eye is about half the length of the snout and about 7 times less than the length of the head. The posterior margin of the upper jaw extends to a vertical line passing through the anterior margin of the eye. The mouth is terminal, with numerous villous teeth on both jaws; on the scopus the teeth are arranged in a crescent-shaped pattern. There are teeth on the palate and tongue. On the tongue the teeth run in three parallel bands, one band in the middle and 2 on the edges. There are no ridges. The edge of the premaxilla is serrate. There are 4-6 large, widely spaced spines on the lower margin of the preclypeus, directed forward and downward. The first gill arch has 7 gill stamens on the upper part and 16-18 on the lower part. The lateral line, with 62-74 scales, extends to the base of the caudal fin. There are 7 rays in the gill rays. There are 25 vertebrae.

Features of fish fins

There are two dorsal fins, the first has 8-9 barb rays and the second has one barb ray and 12-14 soft rays. The anal fin has 3 barb rays and 10-13 soft rays. The caudal fin has a small notch. 

Fish colouring

The body is silvery grey with a bluish tinge to the back; sides are silvery; belly and pelvic fins sometimes yellowish. Juveniles have several black spots on the upper part of the body, adults have no spots on the body. There is a faint black spot between the spines on the upper edge of the gill cover.


Widespread in the eastern Atlantic from Norway to Morocco and Senegal, including the Canary Islands. Numerous in the Mediterranean and the Sea of Marmara. Rare in the Black Sea, but found off the coast of Crimea, Batumi, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and in the Kerch Strait. Found in the Baltic Sea.


Marine pelagic fish. They live in coastal waters at depths of 10-100 metres. They enter desalinated waters and even the mouths of rivers. Euryhaline fish, tolerate water salinity from 0 to 40 ‰. 


Maximum body length - 103 cm, usually up to 50 cm. Weight - up to 12 kg.


Spawn in open waters away from the shore, forming spawning aggregations. Larvae are transported by currents into estuaries and enclosed bays. Juveniles remain permanently in estuaries until 2-3 years of age, then move further offshore and adults may undertake relatively long migrations. Juveniles and adults migrate to deeper waters to overwinter and return to the coast during the summer months. Adults make annual migrations between nearshore feeding areas and spawning grounds. Maximum life span is 20 years.

Food and feeding habits

They feed on crustaceans and molluscs, and less commonly on fish.


In the coastal waters of the British Isles, males mature at a length of 32-36 cm and females mature at over 42 cm. They spawn from January to March in the Mediterranean, from March to June off the British Isles and from January to June in the Black Sea.  Is batch spawning, once a year, 3-4 portions of eggs are hatched during the spawning season.  Absolute fecundity varies from 200,000 to 2.5 million eggs, and relative fecundity averages 200,000 eggs per kg of female body weight. Absolute and relative fecundity increase as the fish grow. Eggs are pelagic, 1.15-1.34 mm in diameter.


It is a valuable commercial fish. It is caught using bottom trawls, cast seines and longlines.

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Moroniformes
Family Moronidae
Genus Dicentrarchus
Species D. labrax
Conservation status Least Concern
Habitat Pelagic
Life span, years 20
Maximum body weight, kg 12
Maximum length, cm 103
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Predator

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European seabass

Tags: european seabass