Greenblotched Rockfish

Greenblotched Rockfish, Sebastes rosenblatti

The Greenblotched Rockfish, Sebastes rosenblatti, whose common Spanish name is rocote motas verdes, is a species in the Rockfishes and Scorpionfishes or Scorpaenidae Family, known collectively as escorpiónes or lapóns in Mexico. Globally, there are one hundred twenty-four species in the genus Sebastes, forty nine of which are found in Mexican waters, all in the Pacific. This species is fairly new and was introduced by Chen in 1971.

The Greenblotched Rockfish have stubby wide bodies with a depth that is 35 to 39% of standard length. Their coloration ranges from various shades of yellow to red or pale pink. They have four or five white “squares” just below their dorsal fin and distinctive green vermiculations above their lateral line and on top of their head. Their spiny dorsal fin is heavily striated in green, salmon or orange. Their head is short and heavily covered with spines and features a short snout, large bulging eyes, and a relatively small terminal mouth. Their anal fin has 3 spines and 5 or 6 rays; their caudal fin is square; their dorsal fin is deeply incised with 13 or 14 spines and 11 to 13 rays; their pectoral fins have 16 to 18 rays; and they have 28 to 34 gill rakers. Their body is covered with scales.

 The Greenblotched Rockfish are bottom dwellers found as solitary individuals or in small groups within rock structures at depths between 180 and 1,610 feet. They reach a maximum length of 54 cm (21 inches), with females being larger than males. They feed on fish, shrimp, and squid. Reproduction is oviparous with each female releasing between 30,000 and 655,000 pelagic eggs. They have a lifespan of up to fifty years, however, very little is known about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Greenbloctched Rockfish have a limited distribution being found from Guerrero Negro north along the central and northwest coasts of Baja.

The Greenblotched Rockfish is difficult to identify and can easily be confused with the Greenspotted Rockfish, Sebastes chlorostictus (individual spots standing alone; white spiny dorsal fins) and the Pink Rockfish, Sebastes eos (18 pectoral rays).

The Greenblotched Rockfish are an important commercial catch in California waters taken with gill nets and by hook and line. They are also caught with some regularity by recreational fishermen.

Greenblotched Rockfish (1)

Greenblotched Rockfish, Sebastes rosenblatti. Fish provided by the commercial fishermen of the greater San Diego area, San Diego, California, August 2014. Length: 30 cm (12 inches). Note: I believe that the shape and the spines of the gill cover is unique to this species and a viable tool for its identification.

Greenblotched Rockfish (3)

Greenblotched Rockfish, Sebastes rosenblatti. Fish caught from coastal waters off Point Loma, California, April 2008. Length: 22 cm (8.6 inches). Catch courtesy of Eddie Kisfaludy, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA. Fish identification courtesy of Dr. John Hyde, NOAA, La Jolla, CA.