Fun Cuckoo Wrasse Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Jan 31, 2024 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 18, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Cuckoo wrasse facts are educational.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.6 Min

If you love reading about various species of fish, then you are going to love reading about the cuckoo wrasse. A cuckoo wrasse (Labrus mixtus) is a native marine species found in the Atlantic Ocean. Their distribution range covers a range that includes the Mediterranean and parts of the United Kingdom. Males and the females of this marine species have some significant differences. One of the differences is the presence of blue heads and blue markings on the males. The female lacks the blue lines and blue head but has white and dark spots on its dorsal fin and tail fin instead. The length of the males is a bit more than the females. They are fished off the coast and consumed by the local people. However, they have gained popularity as aquarium pets for their beautiful blue markings and orange coloration. They feed on various marine species found near their habitats.

Keep on reading to learn some more facts about the cuckoo wrasse. If you are interested in learning about other fishes, check out rainbow trout and pilchard.

Cuckoo Wrasse Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a cuckoo wrasse?

The cuckoo wrasse is a type of wrasse fish that belongs to the Labridae family. They are colorful wrasses and have gained popularity as public and private aquarium fishes in recent years.

What class of animal does a cuckoo wrasse belong to?

The cuckoo wrasse (scientific name Labrus mixtus) belongs to the Actinopterygii class and the Chordata phylum of the Animalia kingdom. It is a member of the order Labriformes and genus Labrus.

How many cuckoo wrasses are there in the world?

This wrasse is quite widespread in their distribution range. The International Union for Conservation of Nature or the IUCN has stated the population trend of this wrasse to be stable. However, the exact number of cuckoo wrasses living in this world is not known.

Where does a cuckoo wrasse live?

The cuckoo wrasse is a marine fish that is a resident of the east Atlantic Ocean. Its range covers a great range from Norway all the way to Senegal. These fish can also be spotted in Ireland and Britain. Other places where these cuckoo wrasses are found include Madeira, the Azores, and the Mediterranean.

What is a cuckoo wrasse's habitat?

This marine fish prefers swimming at a depth of 66-262 ft (20-79.8 m) but can also be spotted at 6.6-656.2 ft (2-200 m). They live near rocks and algae-dominated areas. A male cuckoo wrasse uses this algae to build nests for the female cuckoo wrasse to lay eggs in. This species of fish generally avoids shallow inshore areas except for the young ones.

Who do cuckoo wrasses live with?

Cuckoo wrasses are mostly solitary species. They perform daily activities like prying on food singly. However, spotting cuckoo wrasses in pairs is not an uncommon event. The male cuckoo wrasse and female cuckoo wrasse are often seen swimming with young ones.

How long does a cuckoo wrasse live?

A cuckoo wrasse lives quite a long life. The life span of this fish can be up to 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

The male cuckoo wrasse builds a nest in rocky areas using mainly algae and seaweed during the breeding season. They look for rocks and clean them with their sharp teeth and then tie up the rock with algae and seaweed to give it a dish-like structure. Like many other fishes, the cuckoo wrasse is oviparous in nature. A female cuckoo wrasse can lay about 1000 eggs each season and this huge clutch size helps the population of marine fish to be stable. Cuckoo wrasse eggs are often targeted by various marine animals. The male cuckoo wrasse takes up the responsibility of guarding the nest after fertilizing the eggs.

This species of fishes are protogynous hermaphrodite and this means that a female cuckoo wrasse can change sex to a male. This process can take seven months and occurs when the dominant male dies.

What is their conservation status?

The cuckoo wrasse (Labrus mixtus)is listed as Least Concern in the Red List by the International Union for Conservation of Nature or the IUCN. These fishes are fairly widespread in their distribution range with a stable population trend. They are also known to live a fairly long life. It is safe to assume that the population of cuckoo wrasses is not facing any immediate risk.

Cuckoo Wrasse Fun Facts

What do cuckoo wrasses look like?

The cuckoo wrasse is one of the most colorful fishes found in the rocky areas of the eastern Atlantic Ocean. However, a male cuckoo wrasse and a female cuckoo wrasse have some majorly visible differences. The female cuckoo wrasse has an orange-red coloration, while the male cuckoo wrasse has an orange body with a dark blue head. This dark blue coloration in the head is absent in females. To add to the dark blue head, males have bright blue lines that run through the body. In comparison, females have about two to three dark spots and white spots. These dark spots and white spots are mainly seen on the dorsal fin and the tail fin.

The cuckoo wrasse fish has incredibly strong teeth. These strong teeth are not only present on the jaws but can also be found on the pharyngeal bones in their throat. The teeth are strong enough to break through a shell and helps them to prey on various marine species. The body of the fish is covered with large scales. Like most wrasses, the cuckoo wrasse has thick lips and a small mouth. Both the males and females have slender bodies, but females have slightly smaller bodies.

The cuckoo wrasse is a colorful species.

How cute are they?

The colorful slender body of the cuckoo wrasse makes it look extremely attractive. Male fishes appear to be more colorful with their bright orange body, blue markings, and head. Females look extremely beautiful with their orange-red coloration and dark and white spots. Cuckoo wrasse teeth and small mouth with folded lips might make the fish look intimidated, but they cause no harm.

How do they communicate?

Fishes, in general, communicate through gestures and movements. They use different body language to convey different messages. They send out vibrations to alert others of potential intruders or other dangers.

How big is a cuckoo wrasse?

The male cuckoo wrasse is generally a bit bigger in size than a female cuckoo wrasse. This species of fish can grow up to a length of 12 in (30.4 cm). They are almost the same length as a rockmover wrasse.

How fast can a cuckoo wrasse swim?

Cuckoo wrasses can be very commonly spotted swimming in their habitats. However, the exact speed of this species is not known.

How much does a cuckoo wrasse weigh?

The cuckoo wrasse has a slender body and it generally weighs no more than 1.2 lb (0.5 kg). Female wrasses are slightly smaller than male wrasses. This fish weighs similar to an average tang fish.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no separate names for male and female fishes. They are simply referred to as male cuckoo wrasse and female cuckoo wrasse.

What would you call a baby cuckoo wrasse?

Babies of all fishes are referred to as fry. A baby cuckoo wrasse will be given the same name.

What do they eat?

When it comes to food, cuckoo wrasses follow a carnivorous diet. This fish swims around singly or in pairs to look for food. Crustaceans like barnacles are a huge part of their diet. They also feed on various other crustaceans and mollusks. At times, this species also prey on smaller fishes that share the same habitats. Cuckoo wrasses have strong teeth on their jaws that are sharp enough to break shells. These sharp teeth come in handy while preying.

Are they dangerous?

There is no cuckoo wrasse information that states they are dangerous species. Being carnivores, they are definitely a threat to their prey, but other than that, they are not violent species. They do not cause any significant harm to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

Cuckoo wrasses have gained popularity as pets in recent times due to their beautiful coloration and markings. They can be found in both public and private aquariums.

Did you know...

Like many other fishes, this species of fishes are protogynous hermaphrodite. This means that a female cuckoo wrasse can change sex to a male. The process of this sex change takes up to seven months.

When the dominant male of the reef dies, one of the females changes sex to a male. This role is generally taken up by the oldest female of the reef.

The blue heads of adult males and young males have been compared to the bluebell flower by Cornish fishermen. The Cornish translation of the bluebell flower is the 'cuckoo flower'. This is where the name 'cuckoo wrasse' originates from.

Can you eat cuckoo wrasses?

Fishing cuckoo wrasse off the shore is not a difficult job. Even though they are edible, they are more popular as aquarium fishes than as delicacies. Wrasses, in general, are not known for their taste. However, some local people consume this fish. A cuckoo wrasse can be boiled, steamed, and baked.

Is the cuckoo wrasse endangered?

According to reports from the International Union for Conservation of Nature or the IUCN Red List, the conservation status of the cuckoo wrasse is of Least Concern. Recently, they are facing the threat of fishing and predators. However, they are quite widespread and cannot be considered Endangered.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these rainbow cichild facts and guppy facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable wrasse coloring pages.

Cuckoo Wrasse Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Barnacles, fishes, mollusks, and other crustaceans

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

1000 eggs

How Much Did They Weigh?

1.2 lb (0.5 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?


Where Do They Live?

east atlantic (norway to senegal), the mediterranean, madeira, the azores, britain, and ireland

How Long Were They?

12 in (30.4 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Labrus mixtus

What Do They Look Like?

Male: Dark blue and orange Female: Orange-red and white spots

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?

fishing, predators, and habitat loss

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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