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Rainbow Surfperch | by Ron's Aquarium Photos
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Rainbow Surfperch


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)

Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)

Family: Embiotocidae (Surfperches)


Genus/species: Hypsurus caryi


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Compressed and oval to oblong-shaped body. Base coloration is usually silver, and some species have stripes or bars, which may be dependent on the time of year (breeding vs. non-breeding coloration) and whether the fish is a juvenile or adult. Fins tinged with orange with black blotch on continuous soft dorsal and anal fins. The caudal (tail) fin is forked.


Maximum fish length per species ranges from 4 to 18 inches.


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Cape Mendocino to northern Baja California along rocky shores, often at the edges of kelp beds; occasionally over sand but not found in the surf zone.


DIET IN THE WILD: Rainbow Surfperch feed on isopods, amphipods and other crustaceans; also snails and brittle stars.


REPRODUCTION: H. caryi males approach the female from below; both swim with vents close for 2 or 3 seconds, then separate and repeat the process. As all surfperch H. caryi fertilization is internal and are viviparous (livebearers) giving birth to as many as 22 young which are fully-formed 5 cm (2 in) at birth miniature versions of the adults.


COSERVATION: IUCN: Not evaluated.


REMARKS: Divers in Monterey Bay report rainbow surfperch cleaning ocean sunfish (Mola mola).




California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium California Rocky Coast 2019


Ron’s Wordpress shortlink


California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife






2012, 10-4-12, 8-8-14, 7-10-17

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Taken on July 18, 2012