A favorite resident of our Passages of the Deep exhibit, this striking fish can be found drifting slowly through the waters of the Orford Reef and Halibut Flats habitats. The Quillback is a distinctive orange-brown to dark brown with black markings along the body. As its name suggests, it also possesses a spiny dorsal fin with deep notched membranes which help ward off predators. The Quillbacks are a particularly long-lived rockfish with the oldest recorded living to be 32-years old. Scientists suspect that they probably live much longer than that in the wild. , but the Quillbacks can probably live much longer in the wild. Like many rockfish, the Quillback is a valuable commercial species sold at premium prices in seafood markets around the world.
Range & Habitat
The Quillback Rockfish generally lives next to reefs among rocks or sometimes coarse sand and pebbles. These are usually areas with lots of flat-bladed kelp. These fish are usually found on or near the bottom, but will occasionally rise through the kelp forests Found from Alaska to California, but commonly occur from southeastern Alaska to northern California.