Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum:  Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Suborder: Labroidei
Family: Embiotocidae (surfperches)

Genus/species: Rhacochilus vacca 

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Above, dark gray or brown pigment with a silvery luster which dominates the color on sides and belly; darker blotches on the back and sides, dark vertical bars on juveniles; fins dusky deeply forked caudal fin.

Length 25–30 cm (10-12 inches); maximum 42 cm (16.5 in).


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Alaska to north central Baja California, Mexico.  Rocky shores, pilings, kelp beds,  underwater structures to 46 m (150 ft).        


DIET IN THE WILD: R. vacca feed on hard-shelled mollusks, crabs and barnacles. 

REPRODUCTION: Fertilization is internal. Viviparous (live bearer). Fecundity increases with age, averaging from 11–60 young.

LONGEVITY: 7–10 years.

CONSERVATION: Least Concern, the distribution of this species may coincide with a number of designated marine protected areas.

REMARKS: Specialized pharyngeal dentition enable the pile perch to crush hard shells persuading some ichthyologists to place the species in its own genus (Damalichthys). 


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California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium California Rocky Coast 2017


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IUCN Least Concern