Labrus merula ZBK Linnaeus, 1758
?: 18800-568 (1 spc.) .
- Nurettin Meriç, Lütfiye Eryilmaz, Müfit Özulug (2007): A catalogue of the fishes held in the Istanbul University, Science Faculty, Hydrobiology Museum. Zootaxa 1472, 29-54: 48-48, URL:http://www.zoobank.org/urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:428F3980-C1B8-45FF-812E-0F4847AF6786
In the Mediterranean Sea, this species is present throughout the entire area except for the eastern Levantine Sea. It is not present in the Black Sea (Golani et al. 2006).
Habitat and Ecology
Maturity occurs after two years at lengths between 15 and 20 cm. This species spawns from February to May in the western Mediterranean Sea (Quignard and Pras 1986). Demersal eggs are laid amongst seagrasses and are protected by the males (Golani et al. 2006).
Depth range (m): 1 - 1
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Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Labrus merula
Below is the sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen.
Other sequences that do not yet meet barcode criteria may also be available.
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Labrus merula
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Larger individuals may be caught in the artisanal fisheries and used as food locally in the Mediterranean region (D. Pollard pers. comm. 2008).
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
The brown wrasse, Labrus merula, is a species of wrasse native to the Eastern Atlantic from Portugal to Morocco, including the Azores, as well as in the Mediterranean Sea. This species can reach 45 cm (18 in) in standard length, though most do not exceed more than 40 cm (16 in).
Labrus merula grows to a maximum length of 45 cm (18 in).
Body is moderately elongated, head is broad, shorter or equal to the body depth, with light blue spots. It has strong, canine-like teeth which are rounded in older specimens.
Young specimens are green or brownish with light spots, belly is paler, yellow-greyish. Some specimens have a blue-white longitudinal stripe on sides. Old specimens are dark blue, sometimes dark green or brownish. Soft part of dorsal, anal and caudal fins are outlined with light blue stripe.
Smaller specimens form small, loose schools, but larger and older specimens are found solitary.
It feeds on sea urchins, ophiuroids, mollusks, crabs and worms.
Maturity occurs after two years at lengths between 15 cm (5.9 in) and 20 cm (7.9 in). At age of 7, males measure around 31.5 cm (12.4 in) and females around 30 cm (12 in). Maximum age is around 16–17 years.
This species spawns from February to May in the western Mediterranean Sea. Demersal eggs are laid amongst rocks and seagrasses and are protected by the males.
Distribution and Habitat
The brown wrasse can be found in Eastern Atlantic from Portugal to Morocco, including the Azores, as well as in the Mediterranean Sea, throughout the entire area except for the eastern Levantine and Black Sea.
It can be found on reefs around rocks, amongst seaweeds and in seagrass beds between shallows and 50 m (160 ft).
Threats to this species include habitat degradation, specifically the reduction of Posidonia seagrass beds, however, the population has not shown any serious signs of decline.
When found in the shallows, it can be caught using a speargun, especially larger specimens.
Meat is soft, tender, easy to digest and very tasty. It can be prepared in numerous ways, but it is best barbequed and served with some olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and parsley. Also, it can be boiled or prepared as part of mixed fish stew. Small specimens are fried.