Labrus bergylta  Ascanius, 1767

Ballan wrasse
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Labrus bergylta
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Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes (Perch-likes) > Labridae (Wrasses)
Etymology: Labrus: Name from Latin 'labrum' for lip, rim or edge; referring to the big lips of the fishes of the genus (from Ovid and Pliny according to Petrus Artedi)..

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Marine; reef-associated; depth range 1 - 50 m (Ref. 5292), usually 2 - 30 m (Ref. 35388).   Temperate; 64°N - 27°N, 32°W - 19°E

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Eastern Atlantic: Norway to Morocco, including Madeira, the Azores and the Canary Islands. Doubtful reports from Mediterranean, Adriatic and Marmara seas (Ref. 4742), where it is often confused with Labrus merula.

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 65.9 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 40637); common length : 50.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 4742); max. published weight: 4.4 kg (Ref. 40637); max. reported age: 29 years (Ref. 6843)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Body rather massive. Mouth small with thick lips and large conical teeth. Coloration very variable, brownish and greenish predominating (Ref. 35388).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

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 (Ref. 35388). One (or more) female spawns in nest of algae, built by male in a crevice. Feed on crustaceans and mollusks (Ref. 4742). Oviparous (Ref. 205).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Eggs are laid in nest built from algae; male guards nest 1-2 weeks until larvae hatch (Ref. 35388); larvae are pelagic.

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator : Westneat, Mark | Collaborators

Quignard, J.-P. and A. Pras, 1986. Labridae. p. 919-942. In P.J.P. Whitehead, M.-L. Bauchot, J.-C. Hureau, J. Nielsen and E. Tortonese (eds.) Fishes of the north-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. UNESCO, Paris. Vol. 2. (Ref. 4742)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 115185)

CITES (Ref. 115941)

Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans


Human uses

Fisheries: subsistence fisheries; gamefish: yes; aquarium: commercial
FAO(fisheries: production; publication : search) | FishSource | Sea Around Us

More information

FAO areas
Food items
Food consumption
Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins Misc.
Swim. type
Gill area


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Estimates of some properties based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969): 8.7 - 13.3, mean 10.5 (based on 376 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5625   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00977 (0.00539 - 0.01773), b=3.06 (2.90 - 3.22), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species & (Sub)family-body (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  3.2   ±0.0 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (K=0.1; tmax=29; tm=2-9).
Prior r = 0.31, 2 SD range = 0.13 - 0.73, log(r) = -1.17, SD log(r) = 0.44, Based on: 3 K, 3 tgen, 1 tmax, 1 Fec records
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  High to very high vulnerability (67 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   High.