Labrus bergylta (Ascanius, 1767)

Ballan Wrasse

Labrus bergylta

Description: The ballan wrasse is the largest of the European wrasse species reaching a maximum length of 60cm. It is a heavily built fish with a deep-sided body, large head, fleshy lips and pointed snout. The coloration is very variable and depends on the age and reproductive state. Young fish which inhabit rockpools on the low shore are often emerald green whilst adults are usually mottled greenish-brown or occasionally reddish with paler spots. The scales of this species are often conspicuous as each has a dark rim and a pale centre, giving the fish an overall spotty appearance.

Habitat: The ballan wrasse is usually found in the vicinity of steep rock faces or boulder slopes at depths down to 30m. Emerald green juveniles are occasionally found in seaweed covered rockpools on the low shore. The diet consists mainly of molluscs that live attached to the seabed e.g. mussels (Mytilus edulis) and crustaceans.

Distribution: This species is widespread all around the coasts of Britain and Ireland.

Similar Species: The large size of the ballan wrasse and the characteristic deep, bulky body distinguish it from other wrasse species.

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). Labrus bergylta (Ascanius, 1767). [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland.
https://www.habitas.org.uk/marinelife/species.asp?item=ZG6090 Accessed on 2024-06-21

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