Ballan Wrasse (Labrus Bergylta)

Latin name: Labrus bergylta
Common name: Ballan wrasse
In other languages: E: Maragota, F: Vieille, D: Gefleckter Lippfisch
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Labridae
Genus: Labrus

Distribution: Though it is more of an Atlantic fish than a Mediterranean one, it can be found in the Strait of Gibraltar and the eastern Mediterranean off the coast of Turkey. Small-scattered communities are also found around Italy and the Islands of Ibiza and Majorca.

Habitat: Close to the rocky shore where the rocky outcrops provide crevices for its nighttime sanctuary, venturing no deeper than 20 metres.

Life Span: Up to 18 years.

Reproduction: Breeding season is April to August. Eggs are layed in nests of weed on rocky ground.

Behaviour: Littoral and hermaphroditic species with the primal phase being female. It has an overall habit of not venturing too far from its adopted crevice or small cave.

Diet: Molluscs and invertebrates.

Shape: Bump to the forehead that starts just before the eyes.

Size: Common: 30 - 45 cm, maximum: 60 cm.

Colour: Coming in a veritable display of colours, depending on age, they are green, blue green, brown and reddish orange and sometimes speckled with white spots, all of which are lost to a drab colour when out of water.

Did you know? The colour of the ballan wrasse varies with its stress level.