Scientia Marina, Vol 77, No 4 (2013)

The cuckoo wrasse, Labrus mixtus (Pisces: Labridae): biological indices for life history and conservation

Sanja Matić-Skoko
Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries

Dubravka Bojanić Varezić
Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries , Croatia

Jasna Šiljić
Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries , Croatia

Pero Tutman
Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries , Croatia

Armin Pallaoro
Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries , Croatia


The cuckoo wrasse, Labrus mixtus, is widely distributed in the moderate warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean, including the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. Generally, labrids are small inshore coastal species susceptible to anthropogenic habitat degradation and, although without commercial importance, they make up a significant part of the by-catch and discard. Also, these fishes are intensively caught in recreational and subsistence fisheries. Basic biological information is required for their stock assessment and conservation. Studies of the age, growth, reproduction and feeding of L. mixtus have not been undertaken previously in the Adriatic Sea. The observed maximum age of the cuckoo wrasse was 10 years, although most of the sampled fish were 7 years old. The estimated parameters of the von Bertalanffy growth model suggested that the growth of L. mixtus was relatively fast in the first four years of life. L. mixtus is a protogynous hermaphrodite and sex change occurred at 26 cm, while the greatest increase in gonadosomatic index in April confirmed spring as the spawning period. The cuckoo wrasse is an opportunistic predator, feeding primarily on crustaceans, gastropods and fishes. The information provided on biological indices is necessary for life history pathways and future conservation measures of this population in the Adriatic Sea.


Labrus mixtus; Adriatic Sea; age; growth; diet; protogynous hermaphrodite

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