Gilthead Sea Bream - Sparus Aurata


Gilthead Sea Bream or Tsipoura as we call it in Cyprus, is a fish of the bream family Sparidae. It usually reaches the size of around 30 – 35cm but has been known to reach the size of 70cm and weigh in excess of 15kg! Considered the best tasting of all the sea bream it is the single species of the genus “Sparus” the latin word for fish, which has given the whole family of Sparidae its name! The second part of its name Aurata comes form the latin word Aureus ie Gold. It comes to be from the gold like markings between its eyes!


Gilthead Sea Bream is typically seen at depths of 0 – 30m but can reach a depth of 150m either solitary or in small groups near seagrass or over sandy bottoms.


The Sparus Aurata feeds mainly on shellfish but also sometimes on plant material.

Life History

In the initial stages of its life the Gilthead Sea Bream migrate in spring to coastal lagoons where they arrive as juveniles being born in the open sea in October to December, they stay near the coast finding ample supply of food and milder temperatures. They are highly sensitive to temperature and anything lower than 4C is lethal to them. In late autumn they return to the open sea again where the now adult fish breed again. The Gilthead Sea Bream larvae are shown in the image below.

Dive Site Encounters

Cyclop’s Cave Dive Site

Gilthead Sea Bream Sparus Aurata Larval Stages

Gilthead Sea Bream - Sparus Aurata Larval Stages

Production Cycle

This fish has been with the Mediterranean people for millennia. It stands to reason that this is one of the most widely farmed fish in the area of the Mediterranean and many methods have been proposed for a better and more efficient farming of this fish. Below we give an example of the production cycle for an extensive system which more closely mimics the natural life history of the fish and without introducing too much bioengineering into the mix.

Gilthead Sea Bream - Sparus Aurata Production Cycle

Photo by FAO
Gilthead Sea Bream – Sparus Aurata – Distribution Map
(Chance of Encounter Red > 0.8 Yellow > 0.2)

Gilthead Sea Bream - Sparus Aurata - Distribution Map

As the ultimate homage to this beloved fish of the Mediterranean several countries from this area of the world have chosen to place this fish onto stamps immortalizing this wonderful fish forever. Have you any stamps featuring this fish or any other fish? Email us at! We would love to feature them as well! There is a long tradition for countries to place marine life on stamps!


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