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 there is a silvery luster with a dark gray or brown pigment.  The silvery luster which dominates the color on its sides and belly with darker blotches on the back and sides. There are dark vertical bars on juveniles and the fins are dusky with a deeply forked caudal fin.

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


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found from Alaska to north central Baja California, Mexico among 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). 


California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, California Rocky Coast 2019

Ron’s flickr

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium California Rocky Coast 2017


Ron’s WordPress shortlink


IUCN Least Concern

8-16-12, 8-7-14, 8-1-17, 4-15-19