Small wrasse with small pointed head and moderately slender body. The largish mouth has fleshy lips, and two rows of small teeth, with the strongest at the front. Long two sectioned dorsal fin with the anterior composed of 16 to 19 spines joined to the lobate section with it's 6 to 9 branched rays. The head is mostly scaled with 3 to 4 scales behind the eye, whilst the body sports large scales, with 35 to 39 running the length of the lateral line. Colouration is an orange-red to brown on the back, that pales towards the white of the belly and lower sides. Two obvious black spots are present. The first is at the base of the dorsal fin membrane, from the first to fifth spines. The second is present high on the tail and back, just before the fin rays.
Spawns from April through into August. There is some debate on the nature of this: Wheeler 1997: "eggs believed to be laid in a nest.........", Whilst Miller and Loates 1997: "midwater spawning...... eggs planktonic.."...
Found in shallow waters of between 10 to 50m, over weedy / rocky substrates, although maybe found associated with dense beds of eel-grass.
Feeds upon ectoparasites of other fish, and also eats a range of worms and crustaceans.
Found all around the U.K., although commoner on the south and western coasts.
The aquarium project.