Common name: Breams, Porgies, Seabreams, Snappers



Most sparids are deep-bodied compressed fishes with a small mouth separated by a broad space from the eye, a single dorsal fin with strong spines and soft rays, a short anal fin, long pointed pectoral fins and rather large firmly attached scales. They usually have canines or incisors at the front of the jaws, and rounded molars in the rear.

Sparids are considered to be excellent eating, and many species are commercially and recreationally important.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray & Martin F. Gomon, Breams, SPARIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 15 Jul 2024,

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Family Taxonomy

The family is represented by about 33 genera and more than 130 species worldwide. Of these, 10 species in 6 genera occur in Australian waters.

Most of the tropical Australian species are treated in Carpenter (2001) and Gomon (2008) treated two temperate species.

Family Distribution

Found worldwide, mostly found in tropical waters in regions with large shallow continental shelves. 

Family Commercial

Sparids are important food fishes and are taken in both commercial and local artisinal fisheries throughout their range.

Many species form the basis of major fisheries, and some are also the focs of large aquaculture and stocking programmes, especially in parts of Asia.


Dianne J. Bray & Martin F. Gomon


Carpenter, K.E. 2001. Sparidae, Lethrinidae. pp. 2990-3050 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 5 2791-3379 pp.

Carpenter, K.E. & G.D. Johnson. 2002. A phylogeny of sparoid fishes (Perciformes: Percoidei) based on morphology. Ichthyological Research 49: 114-127.

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Family Sparidae, in Gomon, M.F., D.J. Bray & R.H. Kuiter. Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Reed New Holland, Chatswood, Australia: 587-598.

Kailola, P.J., Williams, M.J., Stewart, P.C., Reichelt, R.E., McNee, A. & Grieve, C. 1993. Australian Fisheries Resources. Canberra : Bureau of Resource Sciences and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation 422 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs

Roughley, T.C. 1957. Fish and Fisheries of Australia. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 341 pp.

Orrell, T.M. & K.E. Carpenter. 2004. A phylogeny of fishes of the family Sparidae (Perciformes: Percoidei) inferred from mitochondrial sequence data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 32: 425-434.

Orrell, T. M., K. E. Carpenter, J. A. Musik, and J. E. Graves. 2002. A Phylogenetic and Biogeographic Analysis of the Sparidae (Perciformes: Percoidei) Based on Cytochrome b Sequences. Copeia 2002(3): 618-631.