Symphodus melops (Linnaeus, 1758)


Symphodus melops

Description: The corkwing is a deep bodied wrasse with large scales that extend on to the cheeks below the eyes. It is a relatively small wrasse with adult fish reaching a maximum length of 25cm. The coloration varies with age, sex and breeding season. The females are usually a greenish-reddish brown whilst males are dark reddish-brown with irridescent green-blue lines on their cheeks and gill covers. In the breeding season the males have blue spots on their fins and the centres of the scales are bright green or blue. All corkwings have a characteristic black spot in the middle of the tail stalk and a dark, comma-shaped mark behind each eye.

Habitat: This species is usually found in seaweed covered rockpools or amongst seaweed covered rocks in the sublittoral down to a depth of 30m. Juvenile fish are also found in sea grass beds. The diet consists mainly of molluscs and small crustaceans although juveniles have also been observed to act as cleaners of large fish.

Distribution: The corkwing wrasse is widespread all around the coasts of Britain and Ireland.

Similar Species: The corkwing is most likely to be confused with small ballan wrasse (Labrus bergylta) and rock cooks (Centrolabrus exoletus) however neither of these two species have a dark comma-shaped mark behind the eye or a black spot on the tail stalk.

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). Symphodus melops (Linnaeus, 1758). [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland.
https://www.habitas.org.uk/marinelife/species.asp?item=ZG6010 Accessed on 2024-07-20

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