Queenfish

Croakers: Family Sciaenidae Species: Seriphus politus (Ayres, 1860); from the Greek word seriph (a kind of locust, an island near Greece, or a kind of wormwood—take your pick. Evidently, the scientist who gave the fish its scientific name, a Dr. Ayres, never specified why he…

Black Croaker

Croakers: Family Sciaenidae Species: Cheilotrema saturnum (Girard, 1858); from the Greek word cheilotrema (lip pores) and the Latin word saturnum (dusky color). Alternate Names: China croaker, Chinese croaker, Chinafin croaker and red roncador. Early names included black perch and black bass. Given the references to…

Salema

Grunts: Family Haemulidae Species: Xenistius californiensis (Steindachner, 1876); from xenitius (strange sail, in allusion to the dorsal fin) and californiensis (in reference to California as a geographic area). Alternate Names: Bass, big eye, big eye bass, striped bass and lima perch. In Mexico called salema,…

Spotted Sand Bass aka Bay Bass

Sea Basses: Family Serranidae Species: Paralabrax maculatofasciatus (Steindachner, 1868); from the Greek words para (near) and labrax (a European bass), and the Latin words maculato (spotted) and fasciatus (banded). Alternate Names: Commonly called bay bass, spotted bay bass, spotted bass, rock bass, red spotted rock…

Bocaccio

Scorpionfishes and Rockfishes: Family Scorpaenidae Species: Sebastes Paucispinis (Ayres, 1854); from the Greek word sebastos (magnificent), and the Latin words pauci (few) and spinus (spines). Alternate Names: Commonly called salmon grouper or simply grouper. Less common names include rock salmon, lockjaw, salmon rockfish, brown bomber,…

Barred Sand Bass

Sea Basses: Family Serranidae Species: Paralabrax nebulifer (Girard, 1854); from the Greek words para (near) and labrax (a European bass), and the Latin words nebul (smoke or dark) and fer (to bear), in reference to the color on their sides. Alternate Names: Commonly called sand…

California Needlefish

Needlefishes: Family Belonidae Species: Strongylura exilis (Girard, 1854); from strongylura (meaning round tail) and exilis (meaning slender). Alternate Names: Garfish, pike needlefish, billfish. Called agujón bravo de California or agujón Californiano in Mexico. Identification: Jaws form a long, pointed needle-like beak with many sharp teeth;…

Striped Kelpfish

Kelpfishes and Fringeheads: Family Clinidae Species: Gibbonsai metzi (Hubbs, 1927); from Gibbonsai (William P. Gibbons, an early naturalist from Alameda), and metzi (Charles W. Metz, a student of ichthyology once interested in kelpfish). Alternate Names: Striped kelp-fish, seaweed kelpfish, weed klipfish. Called sargacero or sargacero…

Pacific Staghorn Sculpin

Sculpins: Family Cottidae Species: Leptocottus armatus (Girard, 1854); from the Greek words leptos (slender) and cottus (a sculpin); and the Latin word armatus (armed, referring to the strong antler-like preopercular spine). Alternate Names: Commonly called bullhead; also smooth cabezon, buffalo sculpin, and smooth sculpin. Called…

Crevice Kelpfish

Kelpfishes and Fringeheads: Family Clinidae Species: Gibbonsai montereyensis (Hubbs, 1927); from Gibbonsai (William P. Gibbons, an early naturalist from Alameda), and montereyensis (Monterey, an early collection point for the fish). Alternate Names: Spotted kelpfish and crevice klipfish. Called sargacero or sargacero de Monterey in Mexico.…