Size10 inches (25 cm)
RangeEastern Pacific Ocean
HabitatNear shore waters, around reefs and kelp beds
- The blacksmith’s body is gray-blue on the sides with black spots toward the rear.
- A male guarding its nest is very light-colored, almost white, with a dark bar through each eye.
- Juveniles are blue-gray in the front of the body and brassy orange at the rear.
- Can reach up to 10 inches (25 cm) in length.
During the day, large schools with hundreds of individual blacksmith fish can be found over most reefs.
- Adult blacksmith feeds in mid-water during the day on zooplankton, such as copepods, crustacean eggs and larvae.
- Young obtains some of its food by “cleaning” or picking parasites from other fish.
- Occurs in the Eastern Pacific from Monterey Bay to Central Baja California.
- This is a very abundant mid-water fish that is found over structures (such as rocky reefs and oil platforms) in near-shore waters, around reefs and kelp beds.
- Can be found at depths from near-surface to about 150 feet (46 m).
- During the breeding season, the male cleans a nest site (under overhangs or in small caves in rocky reefs) and guards the eggs until they hatch.
- “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.
- Blacksmiths are major “customers” of cleaner fish, especially females.
- During the day, large schools with hundreds of individuals can be found over most reefs.
- Adults tend to hang out at the incurrent side of the reefs, waiting for zooplankton, while the young are usually found near the bottom, close to places of refuge.
- At night, most blacksmiths find shelter in crevices or on the sand near the crevices. It is a gregarious species: many individuals will gather in a small cave.
- Probably More Than You Want to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast. Love, M., pgs. 278 – 279
- Pacific Coast Inshore Fishes. Gotshall, D. W., pg. 85