One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A large European wrasse (fish) of rocky shores and reefs, popular as an angling fish.
Labrus bergylta, family Labridae
- ‘Towards the centre of the pier pipefish, mussels galore, conger and common eels, ballan wrasse and cuttlefish lurked.’
- ‘The sides are festooned with plumose anemones and mussels, and there is a large family of ballan wrasse that are well used to visiting divers.’
- ‘I remember catching a ballan wrasse and, on unhooking it, being surprised to find thick white teeth of the sort you might expect to see in a human mouth.’
- ‘Rock cooks can often be seen performing a cleaning service for large ballan wrasse by removing parasites.’
- ‘The North Sea is not the greatest place for fish but on any dive you are likely to see pollack, coalfish, ballan wrasse, anglerfish, topknots and ling.’
- ‘As you approach, you will come across prolific numbers of friendly ballan wrasse, which may escort you on your dive, often swimming within inches of your mask.’
- ‘As well as being covered in plumose anemones and dead man's fingers, there always seems to be an abundance of colourful cuckoo and ballan wrasse.’
- ‘Some temperate wrasse species, such as the ballan wrasse and Anampses cuvieri, are demersal nest builders.’
- ‘Huge ballan wrasse are busy selecting occasional morsels from the rock.’
- ‘There were a few pretty ballan wrasse, and a brilliant male cuckoo wrasse in its mating colours - its snout a deep electric blue.’
- ‘Today she is well broken up but makes an interesting dive, with shoals of pollack and friendly ballan wrasse that like to be hand-fed.’
- ‘More ballan wrasse were noted, a vividly coloured male with neon-blue fintips dancing with a smaller female dressed in her usual reds and brown.’
- ‘Both are usually home to large families of ballan wrasse.’
- ‘I was surprised to see a beautiful blue and gold male cuckoo wrasse here one day, as well as the more common ballan wrasse.’
- ‘This is the prettiest part of the dive, with rocks covered in dead men's fingers and jewel anemones, lots of ballan wrasse and all sorts of clinging crustaceans.’
- ‘Alderney already holds various Channel Island and National records, but I do think it will also one day hold the ballan wrasse record; there are some seriously big wrasse out there.’
- ‘Fish life includes goldsinny, cuckoo and ballan wrasse.’
- ‘As you come up to around 10m, the kelp starts to thicken, and you may see the friendly ballan wrasse that frequent the site.’
- ‘The gully this forms between the rock and the rocky ledges that lead across to Broad Craig seems to be a favourite haunt for ballan wrasse.’
- ‘The local ballan wrasse made a few passes to check out the new guests in their neighbourhood, and now and then we could see the silvery flashes of cod out in the green.’
Mid 18th century: ballan from Irish ballán, from ball ‘spot’.
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