Ballan wrasse


Max length: 65.9 cm
Common length: 50.0 cm
Max. published weight: 4,350 g;
Max. reported age: 29 years


Marine; reef-associated; depth range 1 – 50 m, usually 2 – 30 m


Eastern Atlantic: Norway to Morocco, including Madeira, the Azores and the Canary Islands. Doubtful records from Mediterranean, Adriatic and Marmara seas.

Body rather massive. Mouth small with thick lips and large conical teeth. Coloration very variable, brownish and greenish predominating.


Adults are found in littoral (10-20 m) zone around rocks, offshore reefs, and seaweed. Young often in intertidal areas. All are born females and change sex when they are 4-14 years old. One (or more) female spawns in nest of algae, built by male in a crevice. Feed on crustaceans and mollusks.

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