Painted Comber (Serranus Scriba)
Latin name: Serranus scriba
Common name: Painted comber
In other languages: E: Serrano, F: Serran acriture, D: Schriftbarsch
Distribution: Mediterranean, Atlantic, Black Sea.
Habitat: In shallow coastal waters from the surface down to 30 metres with no real preference for terrain. They can be found in sea grass meadows, wrecks, reefs and shoreline habitats within their depth range.
Behaviour: A true hermaphrodite having both testes and ovaries. These very inquisitive fish take up clearly defined territories that they defend against their own kind, though we have seen them sharing a range and even hunting in pairs. When hunting they always point themselves at their prey immaterial of direction whether it is pointing straight up, down or at any angle. When their prey item is in range they launch themselves with a burst of power and speed that goes unseen, all one is aware of is that they moved.
Diet: Crustaceans, molluscs and small fish.
Size: Common: 10 - 25cm, maximum: 36cm.
Colour: The vivid aqua blue cloud marking over the gut area of the lower body makes the tiger-like stripes of brown down each flank of this fish more noticeable. There is a similar species called the brown comber that is slightly deeper in body and smaller in size with the exception of not having the blue cloud marking. The blue colouring on the former is still there after death.