Wrasse, Corkwing

by David Proudfoot

Symphodus melops

species ID corkwing wrasse

Distinguishing features

A deep bodied fully scaled wrasse, the corkwing has 3 spines at the front of its anal fin and 8 to 10 softer ones to the rear. The rear edge of the gill cover is sharp and serrated. The colouration varies depending upon the habitat but is usually green, reddish green or greeny-brown and the males tend to have blueish lines on their lower halves. There are dark blotches behind the eye and on the tail either on or below the lateral line.


The corkwing may reach lengths of 25cm and weigh up to 450gms.

British Record Fish List

UK Mini Record: 360gms

The corkwing wrasse can to be found around the coasts of northern Europe and down to the western end of the Mediterranean. Its usual habitat features rocks and will be found in depths from the low water mark down to 30 metres. Like a number of other small wrasse species eel grass is also a favoured haunt.


The corkwing feeds heavily on small crustaceans and molluscs.


Small worm baits are effective for this wrasse although they are normally taken when targeting larger wrasse such as the ballan.

species ID corkwing wrasse

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