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Sebastes miniatus - Vermilion rockfish

Geographic range:
Prince William Sound, Alaska to Islas San Benito, Baja California, Mexico

Key features:
A bright red color, with some gray mottling.

Similar species:
Sebastes pinniger -- Canary rockfish

Habitat(s):
bay (rocky shore), bay (sandy shore), continental slope, kelp forest
Sebastes miniatus - Vermilion rockfish image

 

Primary common name:
Vermilion Rockfish
  ITIS code:
166729
Synonymous name(s):
--
General grouping:


Geographic Range
Range description:
Sebastes miniatus is found from the Prince William Sound, Alaska to Islas San Benito, Baja California, Mexico.
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:
--


Subtidal Depth Range
Minimum depth:
9 meters OR 30 feet
  Maximum depth:
300 meters OR 999 feet
Subtidal depth notes:
Sebastes miniatus is found subtidally, with adults deeper (>50 ft) than new recruits.


Habitats
Habitat(s):
bay (rocky shore), bay (sandy shore), continental slope, kelp forest
Habitat notes:
Sebastes miniatus tends to be associated with rocky reefs and spends most of its time on or near the bottom. They can also be found along drop-offs or occasionally over soft bottoms and juveniles may be found occupying kelp beds. This species of rockfish can be found from the subtidal, at about 15 m, down to 300 m in depth. However, juveniles are more typically found in shallow waters whereas larger fish are commonly found in deeper waters, usually below 60 m.


Abundance
Relative abundance:
Sebastes miniatus is common from northern California southward and rare in the Gulf of Alaska. They are often found inhabitating water depths between 200 and 300 m.


Species Description
General description:
Sebastes miniatus belongs to the family Scorpaenidae, the Scorpionfishes and Rockfishes. The genus name Sebastes is Greek for magnificent, and the species name miniatus is Latin for vermilion (bright red color).
Distinctive features:
Sebastes miniatus has a thick body with six heavy head spines. Their color varies from dark red to orange-red with gray or black mottling on the back and sides. The smaller specimens can be more mottled. They have a red mouth and fins and the fins are often edged with black, especially in smaller fish. Larger fish have vague dark marks on their head and back. They have three obscure yellow or orange stripes radiating from each eye. The rear two thirds of the lateral line is silvery. The jaw is rough and scaly and they have a deep caudal peduncle and the caudal fin is truncate. The dorsal fin is continuous, deeply notched and the spiny portion is longer-based with incised membranes. There are 13 dorsal spines and 13 — 15 dorsal soft rays. The rear edge of the anal fin is oblique and slopes backward. There are 3 anal spines and 7 anal soft rays.

Both the Canary Rockfish, Sebastes pinniger, and the Yelloweye Rockfish, Sebastes ruberrimus, resemble Sebastes miniatus. However, Sebastes miniatus can be distinguished by its gray mottlings and the rough scales on the underside of jaw. Sebastes pinniger can be further distinguished by the gray band along its lateral line. The Rougheye Rockfish, Sebastes aleutianus, is occasionally confused with Sebastes miniatus, but lacks the gray mottling and has 2 — 10 sharp spines on the ridge below the eye.
Size:
Sebastes miniatus is reported to grow to a length of 91 cm and a weight of 6.8 kg.


Natural History
General natural history:
Sebastes miniatus can occur in aggregations, small schools, pairs or even alone and overall is considered an elusive and shy species. It is believed that this species makes some movements from reef to reef, especially in deep water. This fish has been aged to 43 years. It has mildly venomous spines in the dorsal and anal fins that can cause painful wounds.
Predator(s):
Sebastes miniatus is an important part of the commercial rockfish catch and is often taken by offshore trawls in deep water as well as by hook and line and gillnet. It is also an important recreational species.
Prey:
Sebastes miniatus generally feeds on octopi, squid, krill and small fishes such as anchovies, blue lanternfish, Tarletonbeania crenularis, and small rockfish.


Feeding behavior
Feeding behavior(s):
Carnivore
Feeding behavior notes:
--
 
September - December  
Reproduction:
Sebastes miniatus are viviparous, live-bearing fish that become mature between 4-7 years of age and a length of about 35 cm. Spawning occurs between September and December and large adult females may carry as many as 1,600,000 eggs, which are beared as larvae. The larvae start out as translucent and spend several months offshore in the plankton feeding and acquiring pigment. They appear as young of year in inshore waters beginning in February and descend to the bottom. Juveniles have a blotchier appearance when compared to the adults and this may provide camouflage for them during their sojourn to the seafloor.
 
References:
Alden, P., F. Heath, R. Keen, A. Leventer, and W. Zomlefer. 2002. National Audubon Society Field Guide to California. A.A. Knopf, New York, NY.

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].

Gotshall, D. 2001. Pacific Coast Inshore Fishes. Sea Challengers, Monterey, CA. 117 p.

Kramer, D.E., and V.M. O’Connell. 1988. Guide to Northeast Pacific Rockfishes Genera Sebastes and Sebastolobus. University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK. 78 p.

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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