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Author: Valenciennes, 1836

Aidablennius sphynx (Valenciennes, 1836)

Diagnosis: dorsal finrays XII + 16; anal finrays II + 18; pectoral finrays 14; pelvic finrays I + 4; supra-temporal canals covered by parietals. Colour: basically greenish, olive-brown, vertical bars with bluish margins on body, diagonal bars on dorsal fin and blue spot with red margin behind eye. Spawning males with high spiny dorsal fin, high orange orbital tentacles and club-like glands at end of spiny anal and soft dorsal and anal finrays. Size: to 8 cm.

Habitat: very shallow, rocky, littoral zone, exposed to sunlight and surf; on horizontal, algae-covered terraces. Territorial males in piddock holes to 2 m. Behaviour: males court by erection of high dorsal fin, rearing up and rocking of head. Rivals are threatened by rocking, circle jumping and occasionally by fin erection. Food: benthic invertebrates; also algae. Reproduction: end of April to July. Attracted females spawn in hole of male which guards eggs from several females.

Distribution: Mediterranean, Black Sea and Atlantic coast of Morocco.

Complementary iconography. Marshall, 1971: col. fig. 339 & 617.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Padoa, 1956: 740-741, pl. 42 (fig. 17).

Aidablennius sphynx