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This blue-grey fish has an oval-shaped body with several faint yellow horizontal stripes on its flanks and dark blue-grey fins.

It has several sets of both incisors and a row of molars. They use this combination of teeth to pick up bottom-dwelling invertebrates and crush their shells. As they mature they become more omnivorous and will graze on algae.

During spring and summer months, male steentjies will take on brighter blue and yellow colours and will construct nests in the sand. Once spawning has taken place, the males will remain at the nest to guard the eggs until they hatch.

The steentjie occurs in large shoals above shallow, rocky reefs on the coasts of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and southern KwaZulu-Natal. 

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.

Grows to 35cm and 1.5kg.