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Fish #143 Axillary Seabream Pagellus acarne ~ Carey Jones
Axillary Seabream, Pagellus acarne, was named in 1827 as Pagrus acarne Risso. This sunbeam of a fish is found mainly in the North-east Atlantic from the North Sea and west of the British Islands to West Africa and the Mediterranean Sea and is known by a variety of names: English = Axillary Seabream, Spanish Seabream; French = Pageot Acarne, Pageot Acarné, Pageot Blanc; Spanish = Aligote, Besugo, Pancho Picudo.
The poor Axillary Seabream is a highly-valued and heavily-exploited commercial species and there is evidence of population declines despite current conservation measures - usually due to its minimum catch size being pre maturation in some European countries.
Apart from its iridescent prettiness the most interesting fact about this little fish is that it is a protandric hermaphrodit, meaning it begins life as a male and then, between ages of 2 and 7, it becomes female. Its diet consists mainly of worms, molluscs and crustaceans and, as it lives down to a depth of 500 metres succumbs to vessels using bottom trawl, longlines and gill nets.
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