Silvery; back tinged with sky-blue: dorsal bluish yellow; pectorals and caudal reddish.
D. vulgaris, Cuv. et Val. Poiss. torn. vi. p. 163. pl. 153. Flem. Brit. An. p. 212. Sparus Dentex, Block, Ichth. pl. 268. Don. Brit. Fish. vol. iv. pl. 73. Dentex, Will. Hist. Pise. p. 312. tab. V. 3. Toothed Gilt-head, Penn. Brit. Zool. (Edit. 1812). vol. in. p. 331. but not pl. 54. Four-toothed Sparus, Yurr. Brit. Fish. vol. i. p. 111. Le Dente vulgaire, Cuv. Reg. An. torn. ii. p. 184.
From two to three feet.
(Form). Body oval, elongated; dorsal line more convex than the ventral: depth contained three times and three-quarters in the length; thickness twice and a half in the depth: head large; its length equalling the depth of the body: profile from the forehead convex; the snout, however, somewhat pointed: eyes moderate, high on the cheeks, nearly at equal distances from the end of the snout and the point of the opercle: infra-orbitals very large, occupying nearly half the cheeks; preopercle occupying nearly the other half, pitted in front, and covered with small smooth scales: scales on the opercle and subopercle rather larger than those on the preopercle: jaws but little protractile; in each four strong hooked canine teeth, behind which are others much smaller, like velvet; beyond, on the edges of the jaws, a row of strong large teeth, which are short and straight: palate and tongue smooth: lateral line parallel to the curve of the back; its course at one-fourth of the depth: about fifty scales in a longitudinal line, and twenty-four in the depth: length of the dorsal rather more than one-third that of the body: spinous rays moderate: vent nearly in the middle: anal short, commencing a little behind it; first spinous ray in this fin shorter than the second; second shorter than the third; this last equal to the soft rays: caudal forked; upper lobe a little the longest: pectorals long and narrow: ventrals triangular, placed a little behind them:
* Linn. Trans, vol. xiv. p. 79.
B. 6; D. 11/11; A. 3/7; C. 17; P. 14; V. 1/5.
Number of vertebrae twenty-four. Cuv.
An individual of this species, taken off the coast of Hastings in Sussex, was obtained by Donovan in the Billingsgate market, April 9, 1805. There is no other recorded instance of its having occurred in the British seas. Not uncommon in the Mediterranean, where it attains a weight of twenty pounds and upwards.