Greenspotted Rockfish

Greenspotted Rockfish, Sebastes chlorostictus

The Greenspotted Rockfish, Sebastes chlorostictus, whose common Spanish name is rocote verde, 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.

The Greenspotted Rockfish are squat and spiny fish with wide bodies that have a depth that is 36 to 40% of standard length. They have an overall yellow coloration with pink tinges and are marked profusely with green spots on their head and above their lateral line. There also have three to five white blotches above their lateral line and alternating pink and yellow bars radiating posteriorly from their eyes. Their fins are uniformly yellowish-pink, similar to their body color. They have large heads with big eyes, short snouts, and a mouth that ends at the front margin of their eyes. Their anal fin has 3 spines (the second and third being stout and the second being longer than the third) and 5 to 7 rays; their caudal fin is square; their dorsal fin is deeply incised with 12 spines and 11 to 15 rays; their pectoral fins have 16 to 18 rays; and they have 31 to 36 gill rakers. Their body is covered with scales.

The Greenspotted Rockfish reside in a wide variety of habitats including over boulders, rock ledges, and muddy bottoms at depths between 200 and 800 feet. They reach a maximum length of 47 cm (19 inches), with males and females being of similar length. They are bottom dwellers and can be found within schools of Canary, Flag, Greenblotched, and Halfbanded Rockfish. They feed on bottom dwelling crustaceans and small fish. They have a lifespan of at least thirty three years, however, very little is known about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Greenspotted Rockfish has a limited distribution being found from Magdalena Bay northward along the central northwest coasts of Baja.

The Greenspotted Rockfish is most likely confused with the Greenblotched Rockfish, Sebastes rosenblatti (green blotches and wavy lines on back) and the Pink Rockfish, Sebastes eos (similarly shaped but lack green spotting).

The Greenspotted Rockfish are a strong component of the California commercial fishery with most fish taken via gill nets, hook and line, and trawls then marketed fresh. They are also a favorite of recreational anglers. They are considered an excellent food fish.

Greenspotted Rockfish (1)

Greenspotted Rockfish, Sebastes chlorostictus. Fish provided by the commercial fishermen of the greater San Diego area, San Diego, California, October 2014. Length: 27 cm (11 inches).

Greenspotted Rockfish, Sebastes chlorostrictus. Fish caught from coastal waters off San Quintin, Baja California, August 2014. Catch and photo courtesy of Chris Wheaton, Loreto, Baja California Sur. Identification courtesy of Milton Love, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA.