China Rockfish

China Rockfish (Sebastes nebulosus ) as seen in our Passages of the Deep exhibit.

One of many varieties of rockfish living off the Oregon coast, the China Rockfish is easily identified by its striking colors and mottling. The body of the fish is usually dark blue to black with yellow freckles and stripe extending from the dorsal fin and along the lateral line. The dorsal fin is also highly distinctive with deeply-notched membranes interspersed with long spines. This dorsal fin has two major purposes. The first is to ward off potential predators. The second is more practical – it allows the fish to maneuver into tight crevices and caves, using the fin as a way to anchor or brace itself against the roof or sides. These fish are generally solitary hunters who use their innate ability to squirm into small spaces to hunt brittle stars, crabs and shrimp. Like most rockfish, they are edible by humans and are considered a sport species. The China Rockfish, however, is not as highly prized by fishermen as other varieties.


Range & Habitat

China Rockfish can be found from Prince William Sound, Alaska, south to San Miguel Island, California. In Oregon, they prefer to live in our deep, dark coastal reefs such as offshore from Port Orford.


Conservation Status

Common.

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