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Embiotoca jacksoni - Black perch

Geographic range:
Fort Bragg, California to Punta Abreojos, Baja California, Mexico

Key features:
Laterally compressed, flat body with several large vertical bars starting at the dorsal fin and tapering towards the belly.

Similar species:
Embiotoca lateralis Hypsurus caryi -- Rainbow perch

Habitat(s):
bay (rocky shore), bay (sandy shore), kelp forest
Embiotoca jacksoni - Black perch image

 

Primary common name:
Black Perch
  ITIS code:
169745
Synonymous name(s):
--
General grouping:
Bony fishes


Geographic Range
Range description:
Embiotoca jacksoni can be found from Fort Bragg, California south to Punta Abreojos, Baja California, Mexico, including Guadalupe Island.
Northern latitude extent:
--
  Southern latitude extent:
--
East longitude extent:
--
  West longitude extent:
--


Intertidal Height
Lowest intertidal height:
0 meters OR 0 feet
  Highest intertidal height:
0 meters OR 0 feet
Intertidal height notes:
Embiotoca jacksoni can be found in the intertidal, but only in large tidepools.


Subtidal Depth Range
Minimum depth:
0 meters OR 0 feet
  Maximum depth:
55 meters OR 183.15 feet
Subtidal depth notes:
Embiotoca jacksoni is often living in kelp forests.


Habitats
Habitat(s):
bay (rocky shore), bay (sandy shore), kelp forest
Habitat notes:
Embiotoca jacksoni primarily occupies nearshore rocky reefs and kelp beds. It can occasionally be found over sand bottoms in coastal bays and around piers and pilings. While it can be found from the intertidal down to 55 m, Embiotoca jacksoni typically lives from the subtidal down to 27 m. They most often stay within three feet of the bottom.


Abundance
Relative abundance:
Embiotoca jacksoni is common, especially in kelp forests.


Species Description
General description:
Embiotoca jacksoni is one of 23 species belonging to the family Embiotocidae, the surfperches. Embiotoca is a Greek word meaning living within and offspring which is a reference to the live bearing behavior of the perches.
Distinctive features:
Embiotoca jacksoni has a deep and very compressed body. Its body is usually various shades of brown or red with hints of orange, gray and green. It usually has 9 dark bars on its sides, and often has blue specks on its scales, and blue or gold markings on anal fins. The maxilla is exposed in Embiotoca jacksoni and the lips are thick and usually reddish brown to orange or yellow. The pelvic fin is often orange to reddish. There are three anal fin spines and 13-17 rays. Embiotoca jacksoni can be distinguished from other surfperches by its patch of large scales between the pectoral and pelvic fins.
Size:
Embiotoca jacksoni can grow to a length of 39 cm. 700 kg, usually less than 30 cm. At birth 5.1 cm.


Natural History
General natural history:
Embiotoca jacksoni is usually solitary or congregates in small groups. On occasion they will school in numbers of 100-200. Males and females both mature at about 1-2 years of age when they are about 15 cm. They live at least 9 years with both sexes having similar survival rates. Embiotoca jacksoni seems to be able to change color according to its environment since it is lighter colored in sand environments and darker in alga environments.
Predator(s):
The main predators on Embiotoca jacksoni are Harbor seals, Phoca vitulina, Brandt’s cormorants, Phalacrocorax penicillatus, and Double-Crested cormorants, Phalacrocorax auritus. Embiotoca jacksoni is also an important sport fish in central and southern California. There is a small commercial fishery for them and they are sometimes targeted by divers.
Prey:
Embiotoca jacksoni feeds on worms, amphipods, crabs, brittle stars, and mollusks. Some are cleaners that will pick parasites off each other and other species of fishes.


Feeding behavior
Feeding behavior(s):
Carnivore
Feeding behavior notes:
Embiotoca jacksoni feeds during daylight hours. While most feeding is over hard bottoms, they will occasionally grub around in the sand.
 
March - August  
Reproduction:
The peak breeding season for Embiotoca jacksoni is the summer, with most young being born in the spring. Spawning times can be variable however, and appear to occur later in the season in the northernmost part of its range. Also in Southern California, there is some evidence of limited year round spawning. Unlike the majority of bony fishes, Embiotocids are viviparous, meaning they actually bear large, fully developed young. After males and females mate, the ripe female surfperches go through structural as well as functional changes to accommodate as many as forty developing and growing young. In order to nourish these babies an elaborate internal system, similar to that of a female mammal, evolves over the nearly year-long gestation period. During this time the embryo is nourished directly by the mother as well as the yolk. When the young Embiotoca jacksoni are released into the sea, they are miniature replicas of their parents and have quite a size advantage over fish that hatch directly from eggs and swim immediately into the sea.
 
References:
Boschung, H.T., J.D. Williams, D.W. Gotshall, D.K. Caldwell, and M.C. Caldwell. 1998. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Fishes, Whales and Dolphins. A.A. Knoph, New York, NY. 848 p.

Eschmeyer, W.N., and E.S. Herald. 1983. A Field Guide to Pacific Coast Fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA. 336 p.

Froese, R. and D. Pauly (eds.). 2006 (Updated 01/02/06). FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. http://www.fishbase.org, Accessed [04/25/06].

Lamb, A. and P. Edgell. 1986. Coastal Fishes of the Pacific Northwest. Harbor Publishing, Madeira Park, BC, Canada. 224 p.

Love, M. 1996. Probably more than you want to know about the fishes of the Pacific Coast. Really Big Press, Santa Barbara, CA. 381 p.

 
Data supplied by SIMoN Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network
Anthopleura xanthogrammica - Giant green anemone

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