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Commonly Asked Questions

Appears in Georgia Aquarium's:
  • California Kelp Forest Habitat (Cold Water Quest)

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in the Eastern Pacific from Kodiak Island south to Point San Carlos in central Baja California.
  • Found dwelling alone near hard bottoms from intertidal zone to depths of about 160 feet (49 m).
  • Usually associated with rocks, but also found on oil platforms and sewage outfall pipes.
  • Commonly encountered hovering motionless over rocks and divers.

Physical Characteristics

  • Body has a pale whitish background color with five to seven wide red or reddish-brown vertical bars. 
  • An individual can be heavily sprinkled with tiny white spots.
  • Adult male is more brightly colored than the female, particularly during spawning season.
  • Male will often turn nearly black during winter mating season.
  • Generally 4-6 inches (10.1-15.2 cm) long with a maximum size of about 10 inches (25.4 cm).
  • Pointed snout with two pair of fleshy tufts, called cirri, on its head, above each eye and another between eyes and dorsal fin.

Diet / Feeding

  • Diet consists of bottom-dwelling invertebrates such as crustaceans, polychaetes, small mollusks and bryozoans.

Reproduction / Growth

  • Can live up to 8 years, the female living longer. Female also grows larger than male.
  • Female lays egg masses in nests on exposed rock surfaces guarded by the male. A male may guard numerous egg masses in the same nest.

Conservation Status

  • “Not Evaluated” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Adult is territorial and seems to stay in the same area for years.
  • Inactive and shelters in holes during the coldest and stormiest months. Also inactive at night.


Probably More Than You Want to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast. Love,   M., pgs. 204 - 205