Sparidae: L III D7

Cheimerius nufar (Ehrenberg, 1830).



Egg diameter in µm

Number of oil globules

Diameter of oil globule in µm

Yolk texture

Perivitelline space

Position of oil globule at hatch

Gut length   at eye- pigment stage








40% of NL



Egg: This egg, when fresh, has a clear oil globule. The partly incubated egg has yellow pigment on the embryo in 3 patches; the back edge of the eye sockets, a couple of spots at mid-body and a cluster at mid-tail (A). Stellate black pigment spots are evenly dispersed dorsally along the larva, and ventrally on the oil globule. Incubation is 24- 32 hours. The egg tends to sink during the later stages of incubation.

Larva: The NH larva (B) has yellow pigment in 3 patches; the middle patch having linked to the oil globule. This is retained at day 2 (C), but by days 3-4, has completely disappeared (C1). Black pigment appears in small patches over the gut, and at the tip of the anus, while there is an almost continuous line ventrally along the notochord (D). Flexion iss complete by 21 days (E).  B: NH, C: 2 days, C1: 3 days, D: 13 days, E: 21 days, F: 30 days, G: 32 days, H: 48 days (23°C).

The above description is based on eggs collected from the main tank at the ORI in Durban, where soldier were observed spawning (Garratt, 1991). The larvae proved quite easy to rear to about 30 days, when some deficiency in the diet appeared to prevent further development, both in my rearing tanks and at ORI.  I managed to take one further, on wild collected copepods (H above).


These eggs are difficult to distinguish from eggs of Pagellus (LIIIC5) and since all efforts to rear C. nufar from eggs collected at sea off Park Rynie have failed, it is now not clear what proportion of the eggs reported in Connell et al (1999) were C. nufar.  Garratt (1985) reported C. nufar adults in spawning condition in the Park Rynie area, but the only certainty from both rearing and DNA barcoding so far, is that  some of the eggs are Pagellus (see also comments under LIIIC5, LIIID5 and LIIID6). To add to the confusion, all three species have similar winter and spring spawning peaks (this study for Pagellus; Garratt (1985) for Chrysoblephus puniceus and Cheimerius nufar). Further DNA barcoding should help separate these difficult species, and sequencing is continuing. Of approximately 240 larvae barcoded from sparid eggs of about the right size (LIIIC1, C1B, C5, D5), only 5 have barcoded as C. nufar, 4 as LIIIC5 and 1 as LIIIB10 (BOLD).