Yelloweye Rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus)


Also a member of the Scorpaenidae family, the yelloweye rockfish is known to many anglers as “red snapper,” although it bears only a slight resemblance to a true snapper. It is one of many red to yellow species in the eastern Pacific, however, and resembles several others, making identification difficult. The large size and the excellent flesh of this species make it a favorite among anglers.

Identification

The yelloweye rockfish is orange-red to orange-yellow in body coloration; it has bright-yellow irises and black pupils and a raspy ridge above the eyes. The fins may be black at the margins.

An adult usually has a light (perhaps white) band on the lateral line. A juvenile has two light bands, one on the lateral line and one shorter line below the lateral line. A large rockfish, the yelloweye is a heavy-boned, spiny fish through the head and “shoulders.”

Size/Age

The yelloweye rockfish can attain a length of 36 inches and can weigh up to 33 pounds. The all-tackle world record is an Alaskan fish that weighed 39 pounds, 4 ounces.

Life history

Yelloweye rockfish are ovoviviparous, like all species in the genus Sebastes.

Food

The diet of yelloweye rockfish includes assorted fish, crustaceans, squid, and shrimp.

Other Names

red snapper, rasphead rockfish, turkey-red rock-fish.

Distribution

This species occurs from the Gulf of Alaska to Baja California, Mexico.

Habitat

Rocky reefs and boulder fields, from 10 to 300 fathoms, are the usual haunts of yelloweye rockfish. They are abundant during the summer in shallow water along kelp-lined shores and are found in deeper water at other times.
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