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Yellowtail Rockfish Sebastes flavidus


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Yellowtail Rockfish
credit: Jean DeMarignac

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Family: Scorpaenidae, Scorpionfishes view all from this family

Description The Yellow tail rockfish is a type of rockfish (Sebastidae) that lives mainly off the coast of western North America from California to Alaska. This fish is also commonly called red snapper and yellow tail.

The body of the yellowtail rockfish is elongate and compressed. The head is rather long and the upper profile is steep and slightly curved. The lower jaw projects, but not beyond the upper profile of the head. The color is grayish brown above which shades to white below. The sides are finely spotted with yellow. The tail is yellow, while the other fins are dusky yellow. When the fish is fresh, reddish brown speckling is visible on some of the scales. As with many of the rockfish, identification can be somewhat difficult. Some of the distinguishing characteristics of the yellow tail rockfish include a convex (surface curves outward) space between the eyes, the absence of spines on top of the head, a projecting lower jaw, an anal fin with eight (rarely seven) soft rays and the lining of the belly is white.

Dimensions Up to 26" (66 cm).

Warning The dorsal and anal fins contain mildly venomous spines.

Habitat Estuaries, tidal flats & salt marshes, Ocean or bay shallows, Open ocean.

Range California, Northwest, Western Canada, Alaska.