- Copper rockfish
Copper rockfish Sebastes caurinius, or the copper rockfish Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Subphylum: Vertebrata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Scorpaeniformes Suborder: Scorpaenoidei Family: Scorpaenidae Genus: Sebastes Species: S. caurinus Binomial name Sebastes caurinus
The copper rockfish, sebastes caurinus, is a fish of the Sebastidae family (rockfish, rockcod and thornyheads).
It is a relatively common rockfish of the Pacific coast. It is very widespread in its distribution, known from the very northern reaches of the Gulf of Alaska, to the Pacific side of the Baja California peninsula, north of Guerrero Negro. The copper rockfish is also very widely distributed in depth, from the subtidal shallows to over 600ft.
Copper rockfish are known to be highly variable in coloration, ranging from a dark reddish brown, with pale copper blotching along the sides, to a lighter pinkish brown with a yellowish white mottling on the flanks. At one time it was thought that these variations were two different fish: Sebastes caurinus and Sebastes vexillaris. It is now known however that it is simply one species.
Males are known to mature between three and seven years, while females mature between four and eight years. Generally the larger a female is, the more young she will bear. Copper Rockfish are a viviparous fish giving birth to live young after a gestation period of around 10 months. They are a long lived fish reaching ages of over forty years old. Copper Rockfish are a modest fish reaching a maximum size of just 22in and a weight of 10lbs.
Juveniles are almost exclusively found in kelp beds and shallow rocky areas. They begin life feeding primarily on planktonic crustaceans. As they grow they continue to feed on increasingly larger crustaceans such as shrimp and crabs as well as squid and octopus. Smaller fish also make up a large part of their diet. In turn copper rockfish are preyed on by lingcod and cabezone and even salmon. Sea birds and sea mammals also take their toll, and also man. Copper Rockfish are known for the table quality of their flesh and their willingness as a sportfish. The adult copper rockfish is found very close to the bottom often touching. They are almost always associated in and around rocks, and almost never on sand. This rockfish is known to be very faithful to its chosen home and numerous tagging studies have shown that these rockfish travel no more than a mile from their chosen location.
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