Cuckoo Wrasse - Ulster Wildlife

Cuckoo Wrasse
© Paul Kay
Labrus mixtus
This colourful fish may look like it belongs in the tropics but it can be commonly
found off the coast of Northern Ireland. Males have a striking blue head with
blue lines and patches interspersed among beautiful orange and gold running
the length of its body. Females are rosy pink and display a row of black and
white blotches near the tail.
Can be commonly found around the coasts of Britain and Ireland, the cuckoo
wrasse favours rocky or hard ground and lives at an average depth of between
Local Hotspots
Maidens, Red Bay, Rathlin Island.
Up to 35cm for males and 30cm for females.
Up to 20 years.
They feed on crustaceans such as crabs, shrimps and barnacles.
Did you know?
• All wrasse are born female and are then able to change sex and become male.
• Male cuckoo wrasse are territorial and will follow divers around.
• The cuckoo wrasse breeds from May until July, with the nest being constructed
by both the male and female.
• Females lay about 1000 eggs in a nest of seaweed, the nest is usually guarded
by the male.
Recorded distribution of
Cuckoo Wrasse:
Data source: The Marine Life
Information Network –
The Living Seas Community
Engagement Project is funded by
the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
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Ulster Wildlife is the operating name of Ulster Wildlife Trust. The Ulster Wildlife Trust is a charity recognised
by HM Revenue & Customs No. XN45269 and a company incorporated in NI, limited by guarantee, NI. 12711.