Fish & Shellfish

Raphael Bordallo Pinheiro put forth a wide variety of ceramic items portraying fish and shellfish.

Sardines, eels, crabs, edible crabs, bivalves, lobsters and a huge collection of other fish and shellfish “invaded” panniers, giant plates, baskets, pots and vases, decorated with nets and fishing floats, creating a richly sculptural and theatrical fishing setting, painted with incredibly accurate colours.

Fish and Shellfish - Jack Mackerel

The jack mackerel is quite common in the Atlantic Ocean and throughout the Mediterranean. This species is normally found in big shoals all along the Portuguese coast, at moderate depths, feeding on small crustaceans, fish and molluscs. The jack mackerel undertakes considerable migrations and reproduces between December and April.

Fish and Shellfish - Horse Mackerel

The horse mackerel has an elongated, gray body with blue hues on the back and silver shades on the belly and sides. It lives in the northeast Atlantic, the Madeira Archipelago and the Mediterranean Sea, where it can be found from the surface to the bottom of the sea, in coastal areas between 100 to 200 meters deep. It forms large shoals that undertake substantive migrations, feeding on small fish, crustaceans and molluscs. It reproduces from December to April. Other names for the horse mackerel include scad, saurel and European horse mackerel.

Fish and Shellfish - Red Porgy

Juvenile red porgy are usually found in shallow, sheltered areas, alter migrating to deeper waters. Adult red porgy mainly live between 50 and 150 meters deep. Fish of this species can however be found up to 250 meters deep. Red porgy gather in schools and the largest fish can weigh up to eight kilos. These specimens are only found far from the shore, in deeper waters.

Fish and Shellfish - Cockle

The cockle is a filtering bivalve mollusc that lives buried at a depth of about 5 centimetres in sand or mud, where it feeds by filtering the phytoplankton from the water. When threatened, it can quickly burrow deeper by the retraction of the foot that keeps it anchored, which manoeuvre sometimes sallows cockles to escape predators. Cockles are very common and up to 10,000 animals per square meter can be found. Because of its high tolerance to low salinity environments, it is also frequently found in estuaries.

Fish and Shellfish - Clam

The clam is a bivalve that includes many species. It has a shell that can vary from light gray to dark brown or display cream, brown or greyish hues, with striations and well-marked lines, presenting a characteristic lattice pattern. This mollusc lives on the sea bottom, near the coast, or on riverbeds and lagoons, buried in sand or mud. It feeds through filtration, with a diet of microalgae carried by currents, captured through a tubelike structure or siphon. It reproduces in summer.

Fish and Shellfish - Mussel

The mussel is a bivalve mollusc with a black, oval shell, which allows it to attach to other organisms. It is found in the northeast Atlantic and the Portuguese coast, in estuaries and oceanic habitats, living in rocky intertidal areas, up to 10 meters deep. It attaches to rocks in large clumps by way of a structure called byssus, feeding of phytoplankton and other organic particles through filtration.

Fish and Shellfish - Large Tub Gurnard

The tub gurnard is a species that reproduces on Portuguese shores at considerable depths. It feeds on small molluscs, rustaceans and some fish species. It is orange-red in colour, with ridges and bony plaques on the head and along the back. The pectoral fins are very large, resembling wings. The tub gurnard prefers cold, deep waters, where it normally lives, weighing at most between eight and 10 kilos.

Fish and Shellfish - Blackbelly Rosefish

The blackbelly rosefish has a reddish back and pink and whitish hues in the belly. Its body is robust, with big, bulgy eyes and distinctive spines. It is found in the northeast Atlantic and in the archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores, where it lives close to the seabed, from 200 to 1000 meters deep, often dwelling in marine wrecks. It is a solitary species that only gathers in summer, for reproduction. It feeds on fish and crustaceans during the day, with a period of inactivity at nighttime.

Fish and Shellfish - Edible Crab

The edible crab has a robust shell, wider than it is long, with a reddish-brown colour and two strong claws with black tips. It is found in the northeast Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea, where it dwells in shallower waters for the first six months of its life. It then moves to deeper areas, up to 100 meters, including in lagoons and estuaries. The edible crab feeds essentially on crustaceans and bivalves, which it captures and kills by squeezing them with its claws. It reproduces during spring and summer, after females shed their shells. Female edible crabs carry up to 3 million eggs in their abdomen for six months, during which time they remains hidden under rocks or buried in holes they dig.

Fish and Shellfish - Small Tub Gurnard


Fish and Shellfish - Blackspot Seabream

The blackspot seabream has reddish hues and a black spot on the head. The inside of its mouth is peculiarly orange-red. It is found in the northeast Atlantic, where adults dwell close to the sea bottom, up to 700 meters deep. Young blackspot seabream live in schools closer to costal zones. It feeds on small fish, crustaceans and molluscs. The species reproduces during summer and fall.

Fish and Shellfish - Striped red Mullet

The striped red mullet is a small reddish fish. It can be found in the northeast Atlantic and the Mediterranean, where it dwells at the bottom of the sea, up to 100 meters deep. This species forms shoals and feeds on crustaceans, small molluscs and fish. It reproduces from late winter to early summer. Juvenile striped red mullets live closer to the surface, only moving to deeper waters once they’ve matured into adulthood. Their two chin barbels contain chemosensory organs and are used to probe the sand for food.

Fish and Shellfish - Sea Bass

The sea bass has an elongated silvery gray body with blue hues. It dwells in the northeast Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea, where young sea bass can be found in shoals near estuaries, due to this species easy adaptation to low-salinity waters. Adult sea bass dwell in waters up to 100 meters deep, living a more solitary life. This species feeds on fish, crustaceans and molluscs. It reproduces from January to April.

Fish and Shellfish - Pounting Fish

Pouting fish live in the northeast Atlantic, from the south of Norway to Morocco, and in the Mediterranean Sea, in rocky or sandy areas, forming small schools. Juvenile pouting fish live closer to the shoreline and can enter estuaries. In spring, to reproduce, adults move closer to coastal areas. Pouting fish feed on crustaceans, molluscs and small fish and can grow to a maximum length of 45 centimetres.



Fish and Shellfish - Leaf Barnecle

The leaf barnacle occurs on rocky coasts in the intertidal zone, although it can also be found on deeper areas. It tends to occur in closely associated groups, forming clumps tightly attached to the rocks. This is their defence against stormy seas. Interestingly, the leaf barnacle develops faster where the sea is wilder. These crustaceans are resilient heroes, permanently exposed to the pounding of the waves at the foot of the cliffs. However, as they have little mobility, they are sometimes swept away by ocean currents.

Fish and Shellfish - Lusitanian Toadfish

The Lusitanian toadfish has a greenish-brown colour and feeds on crabs and small fish. It is a solitary animal that emits a variety of sounds and normally dwells on soft sand or mud or in crevices. It can live up to 10 years. Its body is deprived of scales and the eyes are located on the top of the head. The Lusitanian toadfish is a brackish water species, whose male specimens can grow to a length of 50 centimetres.

Fish and Shellfish - Spider Crab

The spider crab has a rounded convex reddish or yellowish brown carapace with numerous small spines. It is often covered with algae and anemones, enabling it to blend with the surroundings. It is found in the northeast Atlantic, in the Archipelago of the Azores and the Mediterranean Sea, dwelling in sandy and rocky bottoms, in waters 10 to 150 meters deep. It feeds on what it can find at the bottom, including algae and small bivalves. It reproduces from May to July. Female spider crabs mate after moulting, becoming more vulnerable to predators, which is why males of the species form a protective barrier around them.