Bream (pomotis vulgaris, Cuv.), an acantho-pterygian fish, of the family percidm, of which several species are found in North America, and of which the above, called also sunfish, pond perch, and roach, is the most common. In this genus the borders of the preoperculum have a few denticulations; no teeth on the palatine bones and tongue, but with minute teeth on the jaws, vomer, and pharyngeals; branchial rays 6; a membranous elongation at the angle of the operculum. This beautifully colored species is common in fresh ponds, and is an excellent edible fish; the length rarely exceeds 8 inches. The color above is greenish brown, with rusty blotches irregularly distributed, in some specimens arranged longitudinally; undulating deep blue lines longitudinally across the gill covers; opercular membrane black, with a bright scarlet blotch at its posterior portion; abdomen whitish or yellowish; dorsal, anal, and caudal fins dark brown; ventrals and pectorals yellowish. The body is compressed; the back curves very gradually as far as the posterior extremity of the dorsal fin, and then abruptly gives place to the fleshy portion of the tail; the eyes are large and circular; nostrils double, the anterior tubular; mouth small, teeth minute and sharp; the lateral line assumes the curve of the back; the scales of the body are large, and dentated at the base, small at the base of the fins; the pectorals are long, and the caudal emarginate.
The bream builds a circular nest along the shore, by removing the weeds and excavating the sand to a depth of half a foot and an extent of two feet; sometimes 20 or 30 occur within the space of a few rods, and often in very shallow water; over the nest the fish hovers, protecting its eggs and young for weeks; it darts against other fishes which, come near, and is so intent on its guard duty that a spectator can approach very near, and even handle it. This species is found from Kentucky to the Canadian lakes. - The name of bream is given in Great Britain to several marine species of the family sparidce, as to the cantharus griseus, Cuv., and to two species of pagellus; also to some malacopterygians of the carp family, as the abramis brama, or carp bream. The last named, the best known European fish of this name, is from 2 to 2 1/2 ft. long, proportionally very deep and thin; yellowish white in color, growing darker by age, with a flesh-colored tinge below. It is found generally on the continent and in Great Britain, in lakes and the deepest parts of still rivers, and affords excellent sport to anglers, but its flesh is coarse and insipid.
American Bream (Pomotis vulgaris).
European Bream (Abramis brama).