Centrolabrus exoletus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Rock Cook, Small-mouthed wrasse

Centrolabrus exoletus

Description: This is a small wrasse with adults ranging in length from 10-15cm. It has a relatively small mouth and thick, fleshy lips. The coloration is usually reddish-brown above grading to yellowish-silver on the sides and pale silvery-white underneath. Males have irridescent blue streaks on their dorsal, anal and tail fins and also on their heads. There is a dark vertical band on the tail fin.

Habitat: The rock cook is usually found on seaweed covered rock or boulders at depths down to 25m. It is reported to feed on a diet of small crustaceans.

Distribution: The rock cook is widespread around Ireland and western coasts Britain but is apparently absent from the east coast of England and the eastern half of the English Channel.

Similar Species: This species is sometimes confused with the corkwing wrasse (Crenilabrus melops) however the latter has a black spot in front of the tail whilst the rock cook has a dark bar across the tail.

Key Identification Features:

Distribution Map: NBN map : National Biodiversity Network mapping facility, data for UK.

WoRMS: Species record : World Register of Marine Species.

iNaturalist: Species account : iNaturalist World Species Observations database

 Picton, B.E. & Morrow, C.C. (2016). Centrolabrus exoletus (Linnaeus, 1758). [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland.
https://www.habitas.org.uk/marinelife/species.asp?item=ZG5920 Accessed on 2024-06-21

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