Abstract Total lipids (TL), lipid classes, and their associated fatty acids from muscle and liver of captive and wild mature female broodstocks were investigated in order to estimate the fatty acid requirements of white seabream ( Diplodus sargus). The results showed that the percentage of triacylglycerol was higher in liver and muscle of captive fish than in wild fish. The distribution of phospholipid classes in liver and muscle of both fish groups was similar, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylinositol being the predominant lipid classes. The general pattern of fatty acid distribution in total lipid of liver and muscle from captive and wild fish was similar. However, the relative percentage of specific fatty acids differed in captive and wild fish. The most noteworthy difference was the lower proportion of arachidonic acid (20:4n-6, AA) and the higher proportion of eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3, EPA) in liver and muscle of captive fish with respect to those of wild fish. The proportion of docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3, DHA) did not differ between the two fish groups. The differences in EPA and AA proportions between captive and wild fish implied that captive fish presented a higher EPA/AA ratio and a lower DHA/EPA ratio than wild fish. In general terms, in both liver and muscle, the differences in fatty acid composition observed for TL were extended to all lipid classes. The results suggest that the different AA, EPA and DHA proportions in liver and muscle between captive and wild broodstocks are attributed to different levels of these fatty acids in broodstock diets.