The ballan wrasse is the largest wrasse species in Ireland, reaching a maximum length of 60cm. It is a heavily built fish with a deep-sided body, large head, fleshy lips and pointed snout. Ballan wrasse are variable in colour but mostly a mottled mixture of greens, reds and browns. The brightest colour is seen in the largest fish and are probably male. These “big” fish may be 20 to 30 years old.
The ballan wrasse is usually found on wall dives off the south west Cork coast or boulder slopes at depths down to 30m on the Cork dive sites. Emerald green juveniles are sometimes found in seaweed covered shallows.
The ballan Wrasse is a widespread species all around the coast of Ireland.