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Author: Linnaeus, 1758

Labrus bimaculatus Linnaeus, 1758

Diagnosis: elongate body. Head longer than high and longer than body depth. Snout pointed. Mouth rather large. Canine-like teeth sharp, rather strong (9-10/12-19). Lips with 7-10 folds. Dorsal fin uniform in height, its soft part longer than high. Dorsal finrays XVI-XIX + 11-14; anal finrays III + 9-12. Scales along lateral line 45-48, on temporooccipital surface 40-52; rows of scales above lateral line 7.5-8.5, on inter-operculum 2 (about 12 scales), on cheeks 6-8, behind eye 7-8. Gillrakers 17-20. Vertebrae 38-40. Colour: remarkably different for each sex. Males: head and front of back blue marked with green, body and fins yellow or orange with blue stripes and blotches on back, sides and fins. Females and juveniles: orange, pink or bright red with 3 black (or dark brown) blotches on back, 2 marking also proximal part of soft dorsal rays, third on upper margin of caudal peduncle, and a series of white blotches (in living animals) on back, sometimes from beginning of dorsal fin to tail, often on rear part only. Size: to 35 cm SL, usually 25-30 cm.

Habitat: Iittoral (2-200 m, mainly 40-80 m). Behaviour: usually solitary or in pairs with young. Nest of algae in seaweed. Food mainly crustaceans but also fishes and molluscs. Reproduction: English Channel and North Sea in May-July; western Mediterranean in March-June. Mature when 2 years old (16 cm, Mediterranean). Age and growth. to 17 years. When 7 years old males measure 26 cm and females 24 cm; when 17 years old males measure 32.5 cm (Mediterranean).

Distrihution: in Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic from Norway (Trondhjem) to Madeira and the Azores, southwards to Senegal.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Allen, 1917: 223, fig. 1 | Ford, 1922: 695, fig. 1.
Otoliths (sagitta). Retzius, 1881: 69 | Scott, 1906: 61, fig. 15 | Sanz Echeverría, 1926: 155, fig. 17-18 | Frost, 1928: 452 | Chaine, 1942: 23 | Bauzá-Rullán, 1957: 6.

Cuckoo wrasse (Labrus bimaculatus)