Rockfish

Sebastes alutus, Sebastes paucispinis

While 102 species of rockfish are currently recognized worldwide, the coast of British Columbia and the southeastern coast of Alaska provide habitat for approximately 31-35 species of rockfish. First used in 1829 by French anatomist and ichthyologist Georges Cuvier, the genus name Sebastes, which means ‘magnificent’ in Greek, was first used to describe fishes in the northeast Pacific Ocean by Dr. William O. Ayres in 1854.

Characteristics

All members of the genus Sebastes have the following characteristics in common: a suborbital stay (a bone that reaches across the fish’s cheek); internal egg fertilization; spines on top of the head (at some stage); generally 13 dorsal spines; 11-16 soft dorsal rays (i.e., fin-supports); 3 anal spines; 5-9 soft anal rays; 15-20 pectoral rays; a pair of muscles originating on the skull and extending to the swimbladder (curiously, this trait enables rockfishes to produce sound); at least rudimentary venom glands at the base of some, or all, fin spines; and relatively high levels of reproduction…

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