small fishes, crustaceans
to 11 inches (30 cm)
rockfishes and scorpionfishes; Family: Scorpaenidae
California to central Baja California; perhaps north to Washington
Think a purple-spotted red fish would attract some attention? Not on the deep reef. Since they live too deep for red light to reach, a red fish looks gray, blending with the shadows.
Rockfishes cluster just above the reef. If a hungry fish or seal comes by, the rockfishes duck between the boulders. But mostly they just hang there, snacking on the smaller fishes, octopuses and shrimp living among the rocks.
Rockfishes, also known as rock cod or Pacific red snapper, are popular with seafood lovers. But rockfishes can't keep up with heavy fishing. Both commercial and recreational fishing have greatly reduced the once-plentiful rockfish populations along our coasts. To help rebuild rockfish populations, some underwater habitats could be set aside as refuges or reserves, where spawning rockfish would be protected from fishing.
Rosy rockfish hide under dark ledges during the day.