Due to their love of coastal rocky waters and temperate conditions, the Atlantic Ocean makes the perfect home for our Ballan wrasse. Although prevalent around the North East, the highest volume of the species are found in the south of England. Despite spending most of their time in kelp rich waters, you will likely spot these fish as they come into shallow waters to find food such as crabs and even some lobsters.

The Ballan wrasse can be spotted by it’s broad head, small mouth and thick lips as well as it’s thick body. Unlike cuckoo wrasse, the Ballan wrasse does not have a distinct colouration for each sex. Their colouration slightly varies from fish to fish. In general the body, head and fins are often a brownish red colour with a number of small white spots but can be greenish with white spots or irregular large vertical dark stripes.

The Ballan Wrasse has found many ways adapt to make them more effective hunters which may contributing factor to them becoming the biggest wrasse species around. Their thick lips and sharp front teeth are able to pull shellfish from the sides of rocks. They have powerful teeth located further back in their throat to crunch through the shells and get to the flesh inside. All Ballan wrasse start their lives as female with some transitioning into males as they mature.


Fish: colourful kelp dweller

What do they eat?

Mussels, cockles, limpets, fish and crustaceans


Max 66cm

Water Type

Salt Water

Where are we?

Atlantic Ocean and Canary Islands

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