Shiner surfperch (cymatogaster aggregata)

Animal Facts

  • Scientific Name

    Cymatogaster aggregata

  • Animal Type


  • Diet

    small crustaceans, arrow worms, amphipods, fish eggs

  • Size

    to 7 inches (18 cm)

  • Relatives

    surfperches; Family: Embiotocidae

Natural History

The most abundant surfperch along the California coast, shiner surfperch live in loose schools in sloughs and bays and around pilings.

A male shiner surfperch changes color with the seasons. Come summer, he covers his shiny silver and yellow stripes with a darker suit of courtship colors.


Shiner surfperch are a common California recreational catch. There's also a limited commercial catch in California averaging 600 pounds per year.

Cool Facts

Shiner surfperch can live in both salty ocean water and the fresher water in coastal wetlands.

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