Several chameleon rockfish over deep, rocky substrate and sea urchins.
Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division, Benthic Resources Team
Chameleon rockfish (Sebastes phillipsi) exhibit a distinctive color change upon capture, going from whitish pink when first brought to the surface to golden crimson upon death and exposure to air. Distinctive characters are prominent knobs on the upper jaw, several large, forward-pointing spines above the upper jaw, and 2-4 spines under the eye.
Chameleons have been found from northern California to southern California at depths between 174 and 274 meters. They are occasionally taken in the gillnet and hook-and-line commercial fishery, and recreational fishermen catch a few in deeper water.
Alternate common name: Orange rockfish.
Maximum size: 52 cm (20.3 inches).
Maximum age: Oldest known specimen estimated to be about 53 years old.
From: The Rockfishes of the Northeast Pacific, by M.S. Love, M. Yoklavich, and L. Thorsteinson. University of California Press, 2002.