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;…

Finescale Triggerfish

Triggerfishes and Filefishes: Family Balistodae Species: Balistes polylepis (Steindachner, 1876); Balistes comes from the Latin word ballista (a device that shoots arrows—referring to the trigger-like spine) and the Greek word polylepis (many scales) Alternate Name: Triggerfish. In Mexico called cochi, puerco coche, cochito or pez…

Pacific Electric Ray

Electric Rays: Family Torpedinidae Species: Torpedo californica; (Ayres, 1855); from the Greek word torpedo (for numbness—from the electric shock) and californica (for California, where the first specimens were taken). Alternate Names: Torpedo ray, numbfish, crampfish or torpedo. Called torpedo del Pacifico or torpedo in Mexico.…

Pacific Angel Shark

Pacific Angel Sharks: Family Squatinidae Species: Squatina californica (Ayres, 1859); from the Latin squatina (an ancient name for a related Mediterranean species) and californica (describing where the fish was first caught). Alternate Names: Angel shark, monkfish, squat and squato. Called angelote or tiburón angel in Mexico.…

Big Skate

Skates: Family Rajidae Species: Raja binoculta (Grard, 1855); from the Latin words raja (skate), bi (two), and oculata (eyed, referring to the markings on top of the skate). Alternate Names: Skate, barndoor skate, and Pacific great skate. Called raya gigante or raya bruja gigante in…

Thornback Ray

Thornbacks: Family Platyrhinidae Species: Platyrhinoidis triseriata (Jordan & Gilbert, 1880); from the Greek words platys (flat and broad), rhin (shark with a rough skin), oid (like) and is (similar), and the Latin words tri (three) and seriat (rows, in reference to the three rows of…

Spiny Dogfish

Dogfish Sharks: Family Squalidae Species: Squalus acanthias (Linnaeus, 1758); from the Latin word squalus (shark) and the Greek word akanthias (spines), or Squalus suckleyi; from the Latin word squalus (shark) and suckleyi honoring George Suckley (1830-1869), a naturalist and Civil War surgeon. Pick A or…

Round Stingray

Stingrays: Family Dasyatididae Species: Urobatis halleri (Cooper, 1863); Urobatis comes from two Greek words meaning tail and ray; halleri is from George Haller (1852-1889). Alternate Names: Stingray, stingaree or stinger. Called raya de espina, raya redonda común, or raya redonda de aguijón in Mexico. Called…