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Labrus merula (Linnaeus, 1758)

Photos by G.J.Reclos/MCH, (Serifos island, August 2004)text by John Reclos. Click on the images to see the high resolution pictures.

FAMILY: LABRIDAE

GENUS: Labrus

SPECIES: merula

HABITAT: It lives over rocks and in sea-grass beds.

DEPTH: As reported, from 1 to 50 meters. I only see them up to 15 meters.

SIZE: It usually grows from 15 to 30 cm, but there have been reports of some specimens that exceeded 45 cm.

FOOD: It mainly feeds on mollusks and crustaceans which it finds by searching on rocks covered with algae.

DISTRIBUTION: Mediterranean, Portugal to Morocco. Azores.

COMMON NAME: Brown wrasse

GENERAL INFORMATION: Adults of both sexes are dark brown, green or grayish blue, sometimes with a light mottling. Juveniles are much lighter in color (like the bright green shown in the photos) and sprinkled with numerous spots. Typical for the species are the light blue margins of the unpaired fins. The juveniles that are encountered near sea grass beds have one white stripe, which makes them resemble the Labrus viridis. Although not appreciated as food and not hunted by humans, it is not common to see specimens bigger than 15 cm (at least in Greece).

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