Long snouted wrasse with compressed slender body. Long based dorsal fin, with 16 to 19 anterior spines, and 11 to 14 branched rays at the posterior. The shorter anal fin has 3 spines followed by 9 to 12 branched rays. The lateral line has 45 to 48 scales, with 7 or 8 scales behind the eyes. Dentition consists of one row of cannine teeth. Colouration varies with age and sex. Females and immature males, tend to be a yellowish brown to red, with 3 dark blotches with white edging on the base of the posterior section of the dorsal fin. Fins trimmed with blue edging. Mature males have bright blue heads and sides, and into the first of the dorsal fins. The blue edging of the other fins also tends to be greater, when compared with that of the female, or immature males. The colouration of the matrure males head, tends to be replaced by white, during the mating session.
Breeds during May into July, with the nest being constructed by both the male and female. Hermaphroditic, with females maturing around 2 yrs (16cm), to become mature males around 6-9yrs (24cm).
Found in shallow waters over rocky / broken ground.
Feeds on crustaceans, although females may act as cleaner fish to other species.
Found all around the UK, but most common on the West Coast, and Western channel.
The Aquarium project.