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Giant kelpfish

Giant kelpfish

On Exhibit

Animal Facts

  • Scientific Name

    Heterostichus rostratus

  • Animal Type


  • Diet

    small crustaceans, fishes, molluscs

  • Size

    to 2 feet (61 cm)

  • Relatives


  • Habitat

    Kelp Forest

  • Range

    British Columbia to southern Baja California

Natural History

Giant kelpfish stick close to giant kelp and other seaweeds, where their blade-shaped bodies help them blend in. They can hide among a variety of seaweeds because they come in a variety of colors: red, green and brown, along with a series of silvery patterns. Individual kelpfish can even change colors to match changes in the colors around them. 

Like an underwater rain forest, groves of giant kelp are home to fishes, snails, crabs and hundreds of other species. The kelp provides sheltered habitat where animals can feed and breed.

Cool Facts

As larval young, giant kelpfish sometimes school with transparent mysid shrimp.

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