Category: Subtropical Marine


TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)

Order: Scorpaeniformes (Scorpionfishes and flatheads)
Family: Sebastidae (Rockfishes, rockcods and thornyheads)

Genus/species:  Sebastes mystinus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS
Mottled blue-black to bright blue with two to four dark bands which curve around the front of the head. Sloping band from the eye toward the pectoral fin with a smaller band below. Rear edge of the anal fin is straight and slanted. 

Length up to 61.0 cm (24 in)

Weight up to max. published weight: 3.8 kg (8.4 lbs)

 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: S. mystinus is found along the coast from Alaska to Baja California. May be found near the surface or off the bottom, generally over shallow reefs, but also around kelp and over deep reefs. Form schools, sometimes with other rockfishes.

Sebastes mystinus4329897153_34929592a1_b

DIET IN THE WILD: Jellyfish, krill, copepods, fishes, hydroids and kelp. Larger blues eat relatively more fishes.

REPRODUCTION: S. mystinus matures between 6–9 years. Fertilization is internal with copulation and transfer of sperm via a modified urogenital papilla on the male.
The females store sperm in the ovaries for several months until ovulation then fertilization of the eggs occurs. They are viviparous. The larvae mature in shallow water.

LONGEVITY: up to 44 years 

PREDATORSAdults are preyed upon by other rockfish, lingcod, sharks, dolphins and sea lions.  

CONSERVATION: IUCN Not evaluated  

REMARKS: Blues are an important sports catch in California. During some years they represent up to 31% of all fishes taken in the marine recreational fisheries.

References  

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/7564777760/in/set-72157608333101710/

fishbase  http://www.fishbase.org/summary/3983

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium California Rocky Coast  2017

Pacific Coast Fishes Eschmeyer and Herald 1983 Easton Press page 144

eol eol.org/pages/211617/details

Probably More Than You Want To Know About The Fishes Of The Pacific Coast, Milton Love 1996 Really Big Press p175-177

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-CF

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Embiotocidae (Surfperches)

Genus/species: Rhacochilus toxotes

 Rubberlip Surfperch14903173973_a0105891ee_k

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Silvery blue to purplish on dorsal surface; pectoral fins yellowish; pelvic fins black or dusky fringed with black; prominent lips thick, pink or white. The lower jaw is slightly shorter than the upper. Juveniles have one or two vertical dusky bars on the body, usually are not found on adults.The largest of the surfperches, up to 19 inches long. A 16.5 inch specimen weighed 3 pounds.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Rubberlip Surfperch are found in the Eastern North Pacific: Cape Mendocino, California to Central Baja California generally favoring inshore waters with rocky shelves and extensive kelp beds.

DIET IN THE WILD: R. toxotes is an oral “winnowers” (to blow upon) sifting out thin-shelled invertebrates from the substrate; occasionally eat mollusks and algae.

REPRODUCTION: Like all surfperches, they are viviparous with young highly developed and free-swimming at birth.

CONSERVATION: IUCN: Not evaluated.

REMARKS: Overall population decline. Small commercial fishery in Southern California; most caught by sport fishermen who seek out the larger, mature females.

References

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/36298592766/in/album-72157608359804936/

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Academy California Rocky Reef 2017

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/3639

eol eol.org/pages/357017/details

CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/mspcont2.asp

Ron’s WordPress shortlink http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1jL

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Embiotocidae (Surfperches)

Genus/species: Embiotoca lateralis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The Striped Surfperch is reddish orange with brilliant neon blue stripes and iridescent blue streaks and spots on head and gill cover. Fins are coppery; dark areas on anterior part of rayed dorsal, base of caudal fin, anterior part of anal, and distal halves of pelvic fins.

Length up to 38 cm (15 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Subtropical. Wrangell, Alaska to northern Baja California, Mexico along rocky coasts and kelp forests, estuarine eelgrass beds, occasionally in sandy surf near rocks.

Depth to 21 m (65 ft).  

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds only during the day on amphipods (crustacea, shrimp-like in form), shrimps, crabs, worms, other small benthic invertebrates, fish eggs and larvae.

REPRODUCTION: Fertilization internal. Viviparous. Mature at 2–3 years (~25cm). Females produce 11–92 young per litter.

LONGEVITY: Up to 10 years.

PREDATORS: E. lateralis is preyed upon by rockfish, fished commercially, also by sportfishers and speared by divers.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Not Evaluated

REMARKS: Primarily uses pectoral fins to swim followed by the caudal fine if increased speed ids needed..

References

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3236211065/in/set-72157608348783942/

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium California Coastal Reef 2017

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/3629

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink wp.me/p1DZ4b-Cg

 eol eol.org/pages/207198/details

 

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Embiotocidae (Surfperches)

Genus/species: Hypsurus caryi

 GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Compressed and oval to oblong-shaped bodies. Orange and blue horizontal stripes on body; larger orangish bars on back. Fins tinged with orange with black blotch on continuous soft dorsal and anal fins. The caudal (tail) fin is forked. 

Length up to: 30 cm (12 in)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Subtropical. Cape Mendocino to northern Baja California along rocky shores, often at the edges of kelp beds; occasionally over sand but not found in the surf zone.

DIET IN THE WILD: Rainbow Surfperch feed on isopods, amphipods and other crustaceans; also snails and brittle stars.

REPRODUCTION: H. caryi males approach the female from below; both swim with vents close for 2 or 3 seconds, then separate and repeat the process. As with all surfperches fertilization is internal and they are viviparous (livebearers) giving birth to as many as 22 young which are fully-formed (5 cm) at birth miniature versions of the adults.

 CONSERVATION: IUCN: Not evaluated.

 REMARKS: Divers in Monterey Bay report Rainbow Surfperch cleaning ocean sunfish (Mola mola).

 References

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/36159456555/in/album-72157608359804936/

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium California Rocky Coast 2017

California Dept. of Fish and Wildlifewww.dfg.ca.gov/marine/sfmp/surfperch-id.asp

 fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/3633

 eol eol.org/pages/995097/overview

 

TAXONOMY
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Chaenopsidae (Pike-, tube- and flagblennies)

Genus/Species Neoclinus uninotatus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The color is usually light to dark brown with black specks and mottling. The jaw is large extending beyond the eye. There is one large ocellus (eye spot) between dorsal fin spines. A few carrier above the eye and one larger (longer than the eye diameter).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: N. uninotatus is found along the California coast from Bodega Bay to the Baja California. It is usually found in rock crevices as well as inside objects, including bottles, cans, and tires which it guards fiercely.
Depth 3-27 m (10-90 ft)
Length up to 25 cm (10 in)

DIET IN THE WILD: Benthic crustaceans

REPRODUCTION: Both sexes guard the eggs with the male circulating water over them.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least Concern.

REMARKS: The Sarcastic Fringhead is similar but has two ocelli on the dorsal fin.

References

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Waterplanet 2017

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/32131392083/in/album-72157675574079744/

Pacific Coast Fishes of North America: Eschmeyer and Hearld, The Eaton Press,1983

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/Neoclinus-uninotatus.html

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1Pn

 

TAXONOMY

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Subphylum: Vertebrata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae: (Wrasses)


Genus/species;   Choerodon fasciatus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: 
C. fasciatus 
has vertical, broad, bright orange bands interspersed with blue bands. The caudal peduncle is black,  tail is white and dorsal as well as pelvic fins are orange. As it ages the back half of the body darkens to a dark blue/purple color. The mouth has large blue teeth is a very distinctive feature. 

Length up to 30 cm (12 in).

13468909953_41792a2c76_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found in the Western Pacific among seaward reefs, 5–35 m (15-100 ft). Usually solitary.

DIET IN THE WILD:
 Tuskfish have protruding canines used for moving rubble to expose invertebrate prey and prying mollusks from the substrate. Hard shelled prey crushed by pharyngeal teeth. Eats mollusks, echinoderms, crustaceans, worms.

REPRODUCTION
 Pelagic spawners, initial males spawn in large groups; terminal males are usually territorial and pair
 spawn with females of their choice. Females change sex into males for their terminal phase.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Least Concern

REMARKS: Wrasses are most easily identified by their pointed snouts and prominent canine teeth that protrude in front of the jaw. Other common characteristics include their form of propulsion, which depends mostly on the wing like motion of the pectoral fins with only an occasional burst of speed provided by the caudal fin. Color, markings and body shapes change during maturation.

References

California Academy of Sciences Philippine coral reef 2016

Ron’s flickr  https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/13468909953/in/album-72157608208133134/

Ron’s Wordpress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-BV

EOL  http://eol.org/pages/206009/details

fishbase   http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Choerodon-fasciatus.html

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Syngnathiformes (Pipefishes and seahorses)
Family: Syngnathidae (Seahorses, Pipefishes, and Seadragons)

Genus/species: Phycodurus eques

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Color varies from brown tones,to greenish or reddish depending on depth. Their body is scaleless and covered is in hard bony plates with long sharp spines on each bony plate that may be defensive. Leaf-like appendages protrude from the head, body, and tail and transparent dorsal and pectoral fins. Their long, thin pipe-like snout has no jaw.
Maximum length of the leafy seadragon is about 35 cm (14 in).

leafy seadragon11042381084_94c0a006a8_k

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Endemic to southern Australia.
Found amongst brown algae (kelp) in shallow, temperate water, associated with seagrass beds and rocky reefs.

DIET IN THE WILD: Do not have a jaw, teeth or a stomach. They swallow their prey whole by creating a suction to suck mysid shrimp, zooplankton and fish larvae into their mouths.

REPRODUCTION: Like the seahorse, the male seadragon carries the eggs. He develops about 120 shallow depressions in a spongy section of the ventral surface of his tail. The female deposits her eggs in the depressions.

LONGEVITY: 7-10 yrs.

PREDATORS: Depend on camouflage and sway like plants in the water to hide from predators.

CONSERVATION:IUCN Red List (2006.) Near Threatened. Habitat destruction, pollution, excessive fertilizer runoff, and poaching by humans has lead to a decrease in numbers. They are fully protected with special licenses required to collect or export them.

REMARKS: Unlike its seahorse relative that swims vertically, the seadragon swims horizontally. It is a very slow swimmer, as might be expected from its tiny fins, but is protected not only by its camouflage but by sharp spines that deter predators.
The leafy seadragon has the honor of being the official emblem of Australia.

leafy seadragon2980686562_a871c0e383_b

Color of Life
P. eques moves very slowly through the water and mimics seaweed, which makes it a master at camouflage.

References

California Academy of Sciences Water planet: Centerpiece Water Dependence 2015

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/11042381084/in/album-72157608441047857/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1C2

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/Phycodurus-eques.html

Animal Diversity Web animaldiversity.org/accounts/Phycodurus_eques/

IUCN Red List www.iucnredlist.org/details/17096/0

Aquarium of the Pacific www.aquariumofpacific.org/onlinelearningcenter/species/le…

 


TAXONOMY

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Syngnathiformes (Pipefishes and seahorses)
Family: Syngnathidae (Seahorses, Pipefishes, and Seadragons)

Genus/species: Phyllopteryx taeniolatus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Orange-yellow to brownish-yellow, small pale dots on body with stripes, often brilliant blue, on neck. Leafy projections, purple with black edges, in varying numbers, along the body. Long, tubular snout. Dorsal fin near the tail, two tiny pectoral fins on neck.
Max length : 46.0 cm (18 inches).

5119453686_669d49f3b7_b

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Endemic to waters off southern Australia in kelp-covered rocky reefs.

DIET IN THE WILD: Since all seadragons and seahorses lack teeth and moveable jaws they suck in their prey, similar to drinking through a straw.

seadragon5119453148_827f229703_b

REPRODUCTION: Prior to mating the area of the male’s tail where he will keep the eggs becomes slightly swollen, soft and spongy. The female actually pushes the eggs onto this area of the male’s tail where they are fertilized. He carries the eggs for about 2 months. The young are born with a yolk sac still attached that sustains them for about two days, until their snout grows enough to feed.

seadragon8395822449_9cd5ac59ff_k

CONSERVATION: IUCN RED LIST Near Threatened (NT)
Major threat. Weedy Seadragons are weak swimmers; in conjunction with a lack of a dispersive egg phase, this potentially makes them vulnerable to habitat loss and degradation, which is the main threat to this species.
Asian herbalists can sell dried and powdered bodies for up to $200/gram.

REMARKS: The appendages of weedy seadragons are not as elaborate as those of leafy seadragons; however, their camouflage is also effective as they look like pieces of sea weed floating in the water. Weedy and leafy seadragons share the same range and habitat and have the same conservation status.

Color of Life; Cryptic coloration
Leaf-shaped appendages and cryptic colouration of this species provides protection from predators.

References

California Academy of Sciences Seadragon Exhibit 2015

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/5119453686/in/album-72157608441047857/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1BP

fishbase www.fishbase.se/summary/Phyllopteryx-taeniolatus.html

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/17177/0

Australian Museum  australianmuseum.net.au/weedy-seadragon-phyllopteryx-taen…

ADW animaldiversity.org/accounts/Phyllopteryx_taeniolatus/

TAXONOMY
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Gasterosteiformes (Pipefishes and seahorses)
Family: Syngnathidae (Pipefishes, Seahorses and Sea Dragons)

Genus/species: Hippocampus reidi

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Comments apply to all species of the genus. They are characterised by their elongated snouts, fused jaws, the absence of pelvic fins, and by thick plates of bony armour covering their bodies. The armour gives them a rigid body, so they swim slowly in an upright posture by rapidly fanning their fins. The horse-like head set at right angles to the body and the caudal peduncle has evolved into a prehensile “tail” for grasping plants.

Like most other syngnathids, seahorses may undergo color changes to blend with their surroundings, to indicate breeding readiness, or to indicate mood or stress.  Ref www.theseahorsetrust.org/seahorse-facts.aspx

H. reidi males often bright orange and females yellow; both may be covered in brown or white spots. Length 6.8 inches long (17.5 centimeters)

seahorses4039107114_c4de28e230_b

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Subtropical; 29°N – 25°S.
Western Atlantic Ocean, North Carolina to Brazil. Usually found near coral reefs, in association with gorgonian corals,

DIET IN THE WILD: Seahorses have a unique feeding mechanism, known as elastic recoil feeding resulting in extremely fast head rotation to accelerate their mouths towards unsuspecting prey. (small crustaceans and zooplankton).

REPRODUCTION: Monogamous and Ovoviviparous
Like other species in their family, pairs generally mate for life. Highly ritualistic courtship may include dramatic color changes to pink or white and intricate dances leading up to the female’s depositing up to 1,000 eggs in the male’s brood pouch.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Data Deficient (DD)
The entire genus Hippocampus is listed in Appendix II of CITES in 2002.
Threats: Collected as aquarium fishes, folk medicine, and curiosities. Also taken as bycatch in shrimp trawl fisheries. Degradation of seagrass habitats, especially along the U.S. may be reducing their numbers locally. 

Color of Life, Color on the Reef, Color Conceals      Seahorses use color to blend with their backgrounds and attach to plants to obscure themselves. Certain species also change color when mating using their chromatophores.

References

California Academy of Sciences Color on the Reef Exhibits 2015

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/3285

IUCN Red List 2015  www.iucnredlist.org/details/10082/0

ARKive  www.arkive.org/longsnout-seahorse/hippocampus-reidi/

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/4039107114/in/album-72157608441047857/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1BE

EOL www.eol.org/pages/5064/details

TAXONOMY
Kingdom:Animalia (animals)
Phylum; Chordata (chordates)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Gobiidae (Gobies)

Genus/species: Coryphopterus nicholsii

 

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Northern British Columbia to central Baja. Habitat: Subtropical quiet water, usually in sandy areas near rocks. Intertidal to 100 m (260 feet).

 Blackeye Goby3156957770_6f372fc8f5_b

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Eye and tip of first dorsal fin black. Large scales. Fleshy ridge extending from area between the eyes to dorsal fin. Pale tan overall with small blue spot below the eye. Max. length: 15 cm (6 inches).

 Blackeye Goby3968321166_3e2284847f_b

DIET IN THE WILD: Small crustaceans and mollusks including amphipods, copepods, isopods, decapods (particularly hermit crabs), snails, and clams.

Blackeye Goby3707835699_7a6d5047ff_b

REPRODUCTION: A protogynous hermaphrodite (born female and change sex to male). Forms permanent harem groups composed of a single male and several smaller females Oviparous, Male cleans spawning site under rock, then attracts female by rising from bottom to display his black pelvic disk. Male guards nest after female lays eggs.

CONSERVATION: Not Evaluated

REMARKS: Defensive strategy is to freeze on the bottom but if a predator comes too close, the goby dashes for safety under a rock or to another protective spot.

References

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/3847

eol eol.org/pages/340388/overview

Ron’s flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3156957770/in/set-72157623764848303/

Ron’s WordPress shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-1kp

 

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