Marine Goldfish (Anthias Anthias)

Latin name: Anthias anthias
Common name: Marine goldfish
Also known as: (Swallow-tailed) Sea perch, three colours
In other languages: E: Tres colas, F: Barbier-hirondelle nationaux, D: Mittelmeer-Fahnenbarsch
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Serranidae
Genus: Anthias

Distribution: Throughout the Mediterranean and in the Eastern Atlantic.

Habitat: This demersal species lives in shallow waters with low light, on rocks, in crannies, in caves and on wreck sites. Their depth range is throughout the whole of the continental shelf down to 150 metres, though we have found them in quite shallow water of no more than 10 metres.

Behaviour: We have watched these hermaphrodite slowly decimate a shoal of shrimp with individual fish darting through the gathered shoal picking off unsuspecting members while some goldfish keep the shrimp herded together as they each await their turn to feed. It is an innocent looking fish whose overall size leaves it unmolested by divers and fishermen alike.

Diet: Small fish and crustaceans in localised currents.

Size: Common: 10 - 20cm, maximum: 27cm.

Colour: Red, with pink on the lower and underside of the body. There are two or three yellow horizontal lines around the head; yet these are very difficult to see even for the diver who carries a torch.