Ballan Wrasse

This is the largest of the wrasses found in British waters.

They can reach up to 60 cm in length and live to be several years old. These pretty fish have a variety of colours, usually green, but also an orange-tan and sometimes a grey-blue. They are very curious fish and will often ‘watch’ and follow divers. This curiosity is probably due to the fish snapping up small startled prey that may be disturbed by divers as they ‘fin’ around. The Ballan wrasse is most often found in the kelp forests where it hunts for crabs and prawns. Like all wrasses they are territorial with a dominant male and a group of females. Wrasses have the peculiar habit of laying their eggs in nests which both the male and female help to build. Ballan wrasse nests are usually constructed from seaweeds which are torn from the rocks and packed loosely into a crack or crevice in the seabed. The eggs are scattered throughout the mass, especially near the centre. The male is very attentive whilst the young larvae are present in the nest and will chase away other large animals such as other fish and even divers.

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