The dassie is a deep-bodied, oval-shaped fish with a silver body, black patch on its tail peduncle and red-pink tint to the tips of its fins. Juveniles also have several dark vertical bars on each side.
it is an omnivore, with a mouth equipped with several rows of molars and canines.
Dassies have a wide range on the Southern African Coast, from Angola to Mozambique. They inhabit a wide range of shallow environments, and juveniles are commonly found in rock pools.
What is a sea bream?
Fish of the family Sparidae are often referred to as "sea breams", "porgies" or "sparids". These approximately 100 species are all deep-bodied, compressed and have small mouths on the bottom of their heads, i.e. there is a large distance between their eyes and their mouths. Their tail fins are usually forked.
Sparids are generally dull silver, brown or reddish colours. When rare coloured patterns are present, the most common layout is a series of horizontal stripes that become duller with age.
Most species have some form of molar in their mouth which can be used to grind the shells of molluscs and crustaceans, and all have some sort of grinding apparatus in their pharyngeal jaws. They also all have small canines or incisors to supplement the molars.
All "sparids" are carnivores, feeding on bottom-dwelling invertebrates and fish. Because of their dependence on the sea floor, they usually inhabit shallow waters. They typically prefer temperate or sub-tropical waters and are found in greatest diversity along the African coast - 41 of their 100 species are native to South African waters.
Most sparids are gonochoristic which means that their species has two distinct sexes and that individuals are biologically one or the other. In a few rare species, they display sequential hermaphroditism, where they start as one sex and change into the other with age.
Other examples of porgies and sea breams that you can often find at the Two Oceans Aquarium are the zebra, santer, black musselcracker, seventy-four and dageraad.