Starry Rockfish

Scientific Name: Sebastes constellatus

Distribution: Northern California to southern Baja California.

Habitat: Both adults and juveniles reside at similar depths, between 98 to 558 ft (30-170 m). Common habitats include boulder fields and rock ridges, and young-of-the-year tend to recruit over rocks and oil platform shell mounds. Most remain within temperatures of 49 to 53oF (9.5-11.8oC).

Behavior: Starry rockfish are solitary animals and are capable of long distance movements of at least 62 miles (100 km). Tagging studies near oil platforms have shown that Starry rockfish show low site fidelity. Starry rockfish in southern California mature later than those off central and northern California. Females tend to spawn between January and July and produce up to 228,000 larvae at a time. Starry rockfish eat shrimps, crabs, krill, and fishes.

Why it is important: Starry rockfish were an important commercial species in San Francisco in the 19th century. Merchants sell the rockfish whole and at premium prices, mostly due to their vibrant color. Due to its vibrant color with unique white speckling and frequency of occurrence in recreational fisheries this is an iconic species in southern and central California.

Sources: FishBase, Lea et al. 1999, Lowe et al. 2009, Love 2011, Hanan and Curry 2012, Kells et al. 2016

Quick Facts

Scientific Name: Sebastes constellatus

Conservation Status (IUCN): Not Evaluated

Lifespan: 32+ years

Age at Maturity: 12 years

Maximum Weight: 1.8 lbs (825 g)

Speed: Unknown

Maximum Length: 18 in (46 cm)

Habitat: Temperate deep-water reefs, typically associated with medium to high-relief reefs

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