Last modified: February 21, 2021

Fish Kelpfish & Fringeheads

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.

Identification: Reddish to brown or lavender; plaincolored to spotted or striped. Dorsal fin soft rays widely spaced at rear of fin. No scales at base of or furher out on the caudal fin. Color variable with several phases, reddish, green, dark and silver bars, which intermix freely; there is usually a strong dark ocellus above the lateral line canal behind the pectoral fin and there may be additionally several series of dark spots of various intensities; fins weakly pigmented at bases, anal and pectorals most so; head often with pigment bars radiating from eye

SizeTo 7.2 inches long; most caught off piers are around 4-5 inches.

RangeIsla Guadalupe and Isla Cedros, central Baja California, and along the coast from Bahia San Carlos, central Baja California, north to Ucluelet, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Common from central and northern Baja California, to southern California islands and north to Mendocino County, northern California. Not common along the southern California mainland. Becoming common on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

HabitatIntertidal, shallow-water areas near rocks and algae. Recorded to a depth of 162 feet.

Piers: Oceanside Harbor Pier, Cabrillo Mole in Avalon, and the Monterey Coast Guard Pier.

Shoreline: Occasionally taken by anglers fishing in rock or kelp areas if using small hooks.

Boats: An inshore species rarely take from boats.

Bait and Tackle: Light tackle and small hooks. Preferred baits appear to be sea worms—pile worms and bloodworms, pieces of shrimp, and fresh mussels.

Food Value: Too small to be used for food.

Comments: Rarely caught due to their small size. A small fish with a small mouth that is sometimes an incidental catch by perch anglers using small hooks.

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