Cuckoo Wrasse - Labrus Mixtus
The Cuckoo Wrasse, Labrus mixtus, belongs to the Osteichthyes class, subclass Actinopterygii, order Perciformes, suborder Percoidei, family Labridae. Tordo Fischietto Labrus mixtus labridae intotheblue.it
It is a fish found in the Mediterranean and in the eastern Atlantic, in the stretch from the coast of Senegal to those of Scotland. Very common species lives on the rocky seabed near the Posidonia prairie around 25 meters deep, but it is a fish that we can find safely even at depths between 50 and 80 meters.
Different coloring based on gender and age. Males have colors ranging from electric blue to yellow or orange and are usually crossed by darker bands; the females have a color that can range from yellow, to orange, to reddish with two dark spots under the terminal part of the dorsal fin and a dark one on the caudal peduncle.
It reaches a maximum length of 35/40 cm. and rarely reaches 50 cm.
Distribution and habitat
Its Atlantic range goes from Norway to Senegal and includes the Mediterranean sea, especially the western one, where it is not common.
It frequents rocky bottoms deeper than the congeners, rarely rises above 15-20 meters and can be encountered up to 100 meters, in winter it drops to lower altitudes. It is found spent in the coralligenous.
It is similar to other Labrus in shape of the body, is rather elongated and has very developed lips and teeth.
This species shows a clear sexual dimorphism in the livery and has a lively and absolutely unmistakable coloring:
- the male has a bright salmon pink color with numerous electric blue lines that intersect on the head and hips but not on the back of the dorsal fin, which is orange, and on the belly. The fins are bordered with blue and the ventral fins and the anal fin are orange-yellow with blue edges, some specimens have a large white area on the head and back;
- females and juveniles are instead salmon pink or orange with two or three black spots in the back of the back, sometimes interspersed with white spots.Tordo Fischietto Labrus mixtus labridae intotheblue.it
It occurs in spring-summer, the eggs are laid in a nest, after furious fights between males. Like many labrids it is a protogynous hermaphrodite.
It feeds on invertebrates, especially hard-shelled.
It is a very suspicious species and difficult to approach underwater.