Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Scorpaeniformes (Scorpionfishes and flatheads)
Family: Sebastidae (Rockfishes, rockcods and thornyheads)

Genus/species: Sebastes carnatus

 CHARACTERISTICS: They are generally mottled appearance, with dark areas generally olive to reddish-brown, and the lighter areas being white or pinkish. The upper part of the back almost always has three light patches extending into the dorsal fins, and the lighter areas become more extensive ventrally.

Length: Up to 39.0 cm (15 inches).


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Pacific coast from Oregon, to southern Baja California. S. carnatus is found in intertidal zone, but most occur at depths of 12–80 m (40-250 ft), living in crevices and holes during the day, and ranging further abroad at night.


REPRODUCTION: Viviparous, with planktonic larvae

LIFESPAN: 30 years.            

CONSERVATION: IUCN, not evaluated. 

REMARKS: Gopher Rockfish are extremely closely related to the Black-and-Yellow Rockfish. S. chrysomelas is darker brown or black with yellow patches, and tends to prefer shallower water. S. carnatus has pinkish spots on a brown background, The two types are apparently genetically indistinguishable, and may represent a single species with two color morphs. The two species are otherwise identical.

Color of life note: Rockfishes have disruptive camouflage which helps them blend in to that textured and hued background.

California Academy of Sciences Color of life Exhibit 2015

Ron’s WordPress shortlink

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium California Coastal Marine Exhibit 2017

Ron’s flickr