Flesh-red, with golden-yellow reflections: a crescent-shaped mark above the eyes; a large black spot on the shoulder.
S. centrodontus, Laroche, Ann. du Mus. torn. xiii. p. 345. pl. 23. f. 11. S. Pagrus, Bloch, Ichth. pl. 267. S. Aurata, Don. Brit. Fish. vol. iv. pl. 89. Pagellus centrodontus, Cuv. et Val. Poiss. torn. vi. p. 133. Pagrus vulgaris, Flem. Brit. An. p. 211. Sea Bream, Will. Hist. Pise. p. 312. tab. V. 1. f. 5. Yarr. Brit. Fish. vol. i. p. 107. Red Gilt-head, Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. iii. p. 242. Lunu-lated Gilt-head, Id. pl. 42. no. 112. Le Rousseau, Cuv. Reg. An. torn. ii. p. 183.
From fifteen to twenty inches, or more.
(Form). Distinguished from the last species by its larger size, more obtuse snout, larger eye, and finer as well as more numerous teeth: body a little thicker, and more regularly oval: head rather more than one-fourth of the entire length; profile descending obliquely from the forehead, and still more rapidly from the nostrils to the lips, giving the snout a remarkably blunt and convex appearance: diameter of the eye one-third the length of the head; the distance between the eyes equal to this diameter: jaws nearly equal: anterior teeth finer than in the S. Erythrinus; molars smaller in proportion, disposed in three or more rows above, and in two or three below: pharyngean tubercles larger: infra-orbitals and preopercle very narrow from the great size of the eyes: lateral line strongly marked; its course parallel to the curvature of the back at one-fourth of the depth: number of scales in a longitudinal line nearly eighty; in the depth more than twenty: dorsal rising from a shallow groove, and commencing just above the insertion of the pectorals; its length half the entire length; fourth, fifth, and sixth spinous rays longest, equalling nearly one-third of the depth; soft portion of the fin half the length of the spinous, the rays much of a height, being a little longer than the last of the spinous: anal answering to this soft portion: caudal moderately forked; lobes equal; the base of the fin scaly: pectorals long and pointed, about the length of the head: ventrals immediately under them; the spinous ray strong, and shorter than the others:
B. 6; D. 12 or 13/13 or 12; A. 3/12; C. 17; P. 16 or 17; V. 1/5.
Number of vertebrae twenty-three. (Colours). Flesh-colour, with a bright golden-yellow lustre; the red tint most conspicuous from the ridge of the back to the lateral line; belly very pale reddish yellow: fins flesh-red: the ventrals palest: upper part of the head deep purplish fiesh-red, with a faint golden lunulated mark above the eyes: infra-orbitals, upper and lateral portions of the snout, preopercle, and margin of the opercle, bright silvery: at the commencement of the lateral line, above the pectorals, a black patch.
Common on many parts of the southern and western coasts: off Hastings and Weymouth in great abundance. Small specimens taken at the former place in the month of September, of the length of eight inches, were observed to be without the black spot on the shoulder, which is said not to be acquired till during the second year. This species is probably the Bream of Mr. Couch.* Its habits are similar to those of the last.