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Author: Ascanius, 1767

Labrus bergylta Ascanius, 1767

Diagnosis: body rather massive. Head broad, its length less than or equal to body depth. Strong canine-like teeth (7-11/7-12). Lips with 7-9 folds. Dorsal finrays XVIII-XXI + 9-13; anal finrays III + 8-12. Scales along lateral line 41-47, on temporo-occipital surface 15-25, on inter-operculum 0-3; rows of scales above lateral line 6.5-7.5, on cheeks 7-9, behind eye 4-6. Gillrakers 17-20. Vertebrae 35-40. Colour: no sexual dimorphism. Very variable colours and pattern. Body, head and fins often brown-reddish or reddish with numerous small light white spots. Some specimens greenish, also with white spots or with irregular large vertical dark stripes; some with large lateral white stripe. Young often emerald green. Size: to 60 cm SL, usually 30-50 cm.

Habitat: littoral (1-20 m); around rocks, offshore reefs, and seaweed. Young often in inter-tidal areas. Behaviour: one (or more) female spawns in nest of algae, built by male in a crevice. Food: crustaceans and molluscs. Reproduction: North Sea in May-August; English Channel in April-August. Mature when 2 years old (16-18 cm). Age and growth: to 18 years. When 7 years old males measure 35 cm and females 33 cm in Channel; in North Sea 27.5 cm.

Distribution: eastern Atlantic from Norway to Morocco, Madeira, the Azores and the Canaries. Doubtful records from Mediterranean, Adriatic and Marmara Seas.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. McIntosh, 1887: 300 | Matthews, 1887: 245, pl. 11, 4 fig. | McIntosh, 1888: 268 | Holt, 1891: 449; 1893: 48, pl. 7 (fig. 54) | McIntosh, 1897: 229, pl. 8 (fig. 4) | Le Danois, 1913: 154, fig. 291-294 | Allen, 1917: 222 | Ford, 1922: 694, fig. 1, 4 | Ehrenbaum, 1927: 16, fig. 1 | Le Gall, in Joubin, 1931: 260, 8 fig. | Sparta, 1956: 577, fig. 434.
Otoliths (sagitta). Scott, 1906: 61, fig. 12-14 | Shepherd, 1910: 293 | Chaine, 1942: 29 | Bauzá-Rullán, 1957: 8.

Ballan wrasse (Labrus bergylta)