Tag Archive: subtropical marine

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

Genus/species: Hypsurus caryi


Compressed and oval to oblong-shaped body. Base coloration is usually silver, and some species have stripes or bars, which may be dependent on the time of year (breeding vs. non-breeding coloration) and whether the fish is a juvenile or adult. Fins tinged with orange with black blotch on continuous soft dorsal and anal fins. The caudal (tail) fin is forked.

Maximum fish length per species ranges from 4 to 18 inches.

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).


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

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium California Rocky Coast 2019

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


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.


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



Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Subphylum: Vertebrata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae: (Wrasses)

Genus/species;   Choerodon fasciatus

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).


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

 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.

 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.


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.


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

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.


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…


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)


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.


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

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.


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.


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


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

Genus/species: Sebastes chlorostictus

Greenspotted Rockfish14475518222_405daf78f0_b

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Spiny fish that varies in color from green-brown dorsally to yellow bottom with green spots above the lateral line and on top of the head which give rise to its common name. Fins are green and fringed in pink and usually there are three to five white rectangular blotches on the back above the lateral line. Max length 50 cm. (20 inches) wt. 1.0 kg (2.2 lbs).

Greenspotted Rockfish14453711206_335de07037_b

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Eastern Pacific Washington USA to Baja California. Found 49-200 meters, demersal (feed on or near the bottom) subtropical marine.

DIET IN THE WILD: Little is known about the diet of S.chlorostictus but it is assumed that it consumes copepods, krill, and a variety of zooplankton.

REPRODUCTION: Viviparous as other Sebastes sp. Life span 33 years.


LOCATION: California Coast


fishbase: www.fishbase.org/summary/3958

 eol eol.org/pages/215480/details

WordPress shortlink: https://fishoncomputer.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/14475518222/

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