Blotched Picarel (Spicara maena)


Spicara maena is a small sized fish of 7-17cm (1), which reaches a maximum of 25cm; the body form is elongate with a long single dorsal fin (1) (2). The mouth of the Blotched Picarel has a protrusible upper jaw (1); the mouth contains a series of rows of small teeth (1). The males are usually larger than the females (2).

The dorsal fin of S. maena has 11 spines and 12 soft rays; the anal fin has 3 spines and 9-10 soft rays (1) (2). There are 68-70 lateral line scales up to the caudal base (1).

Blotched Picarel have a bluish-grey colouration from above, sides are silvery with dark spots (2); a black mark is located on the side above the pectoral fin tip (1).


S. maena is a gregarious schooling species (1).


Blotched Picarel is found over sandy, muddy, or rocky substrates covered with algae, to depths of 20-100m (1) (2) (3).

Life Cycle

The spawning season of S. maena is from August-October, depending on the area (2); they are demersal spawners. The male will dig a nest and the female lays sticky eggs into it (1).


S. maena is common in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea; it can also be found from Portugal to Morocco and the Canary Islands (1) (2) (3).


The Blotched Picarel feeds on benthic organisms (1) (2) (3).

Conservation Status

Not evaluated under the IUCN Redlist (4).


Description written by Ben Harvey (2009)

(1) Golani, D., Özturk, B. and Başusta, N. 2006. Fishes of the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkish Marine Research Foundation, Istanbul, Turkey. 259pp.

(2) Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae, ed. X, vol. 1, 824 pp. Nantes & Pisces: pp. 230-338. (Reprint, 1956, London.).

(3) Heemstra, P.C. 1990 Centracanthidae. Check-list of the fishes of the eastern tropical Atlantic (CLOFETA). Paris:UNESCO.

(4) IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.1. <>. Downloaded on 27 July 2009.

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