Within the large Serranidae family, the genus Anthias consists of a total of 8 species, one of which is Anthias anthias. This species is found in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea and in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, from Portugal to the Azores and as far north as Namibia. They usually swim in waters between 15 and 300 meters deep, on rocky or gravel bottoms, and are also present in underwater caves.
The maximum total length that Anthias anthias can reach is 27 cm, although 16 cm specimens are the standard length that we will observe. The body of this species is characterized by being moderately deep and relatively tall. The head is of considerable size and has large eyes. The upper and lower jaw are provided with conical teeth at their anterior ends. Continuing in the cephalic region, we find two nostrils located in the anterior part, slightly below the height of the eyes, and both nostrils are very close to each other.
Anthias anthias specimens have a single dorsal fin with a wide base formed by 10 spines followed by 13-16 soft rays. The third spine of the dorsal fin is significantly longer (almost twice as long) than the rest of the rays and has a membranous flap at its end. Between the spiny region and the soft ray region, the dorsal fin does not show any incision. The anal fin consists of 2 spines and 7 soft rays. The pectoral fins have between 18 and 22 rays and have an elongated rounded shape. Finally, the caudal fin is between lunate and strongly bifurcated, with the lower lobe longer than the upper one. The soft rays of the dorsal and anal fins, as well as the lobes of the caudal and pelvic fins are elongated. This is very accentuated in the case of the pelvic fins whose length may well be three quarters of the total length of the specimen.
As for the body coloration of Anthias anthias, this is mainly red or pink, with yellow/silver scale margins, being the ventral coloration slightly lighter. In some specimens we can observe between 1 and 3 yellowish oblique stripes located on the sides of the head.
Anthias anthias is a nocturnal species and feeds on crustaceans and small fish. It is a protogynous hermaphrodite, that is to say that all specimens are born as females and later in life may become males. The time when the reproduction of this species takes place is between spring and summer.Photos: