Fun Kelp Rockfish Facts For Kids

Oluwatosin Michael
May 10, 2023 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Tehil David
Kelp Rockfish facts about a fish whose name is based on its preferred choice of habitat, kelp forests in the ocean.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.8 Min

Kelp Rockfish is a fish species endemic to North America, and its Pacific waters. This fish is commonly found in waters off the coast of California in the USA, up to Baja California in Mexico, mainly the North and Central Baja California coast.

Kelp Rockfish derive their name from the algal kelp forests found in the ocean. Throughout the day, the Kelp Rockfish lies motionless and upside-down along the lengths of the blades of the kelps.

They hunt at night and also prefer rocky seabeds as suitable habitats, apart from kelp forests.

These fish are typically 9-17 in (20-43 cm) long and are characterized by the presence of spikes and rays on their fins. They are usually dark brown colored and feed on mostly crustaceans and small fish.

They are an important part of their ecosystems because, at different stages of their lives, they are preyed upon by different creatures. Their conservation status under IUCN is 'Not Evaluated'.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other animals including the Rockfish or the brain coral here.

Kelp Rockfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Kelp Rockfish?

The Kelp Rockfish (Sebastes atrovirens) is a fish.

What class of animal does a Kelp Rockfish belong to?

Kelp Rockfish (Sebastes atrovirens) belongs to the ray-finned fishes (Actinopterygii) class of animals.

How many Kelp Rockfish are there in the world?

Since their populations have not been evaluated, the number of Kelp rockfish (Sebastes atrovirens) in the world is unknown.

Where does a Kelp Rockfish live?

The Kelp Rockfish (Sebastes atrovirens) species lives in the shallow waters of the ocean, at a depth of usually 40 feet (12 m), also going up to 82 feet (270 m).

What is a Kelp Rockfish's habitat?

The Kelp Rockfish (Sebastes atrovirens) species are found in the Pacific Ocean in waters off the coast of California to South and Central Baja California in Mexico. It is a shallow-water fish and it favors subtropical waters, not migrating much.

True to its name, this fish inhabits kelp forests, all the way from the top to the bottom. It is also seen living near rocky seabeds.

Who do Kelp Rockfish live with?

Kelp Rockfishes (Sebastes atrovirens) are found alone or within small aggregations.

How long does a Kelp Rockfish live?

A Kelp Rockfish (Sebastes atrovirens) may live anywhere between 15-25 years.

How do they reproduce?

Kelp Rockfishes (Sebastes atrovirens) reproduce by spawning, usually from February to May. A female Kelp Rockfish is capable of storing sperm from several males. The female lays broods of eggs at night, laying as many as 10,000-340,000 eggs a year.

What is their conservation status?

The Conservation Status of the Kelp Rockfish (Sebastes atrovirens) species, according to the IUCN is 'Not Evaluated'.

Kelp Rockfish Fun Facts

What do Kelp Rockfish look like?

Underwater view of a kelp rockfish.

Kelp Rockfish (Sebastes atrovirens) have bodies that are thin and oval. These fishes are known to exist in a variety of colors such as brown, yellow, red, and white. An adult Kelp Rockfish's body is characterized by the dark flecks that cover it.

the adults do not have vertical bars, but the juveniles do. Adults instead have vertical columns that are faint. And juvenile fishes may possess five vertical bars.

The backgrounds of these bars are white, brown, or clear. The gill covers of adults are dark.

Kelp Rockfish tend to have big eyes and a sharp snout. The mouths of Kelp rockfish are mid-sized and terminal. They have many large spines and 28-36 gill rakers.

The anal, dorsal, and pelvic fins of the Kelp Rockfish possess spines and rays. There are three spines on the anal fin and 13 on the dorsal fin. The pectoral fin has 1618 rays, the dorsal fin has 12-15, and the anal fin has 6-8.

How cute are they?

Kelp Rockfish are not particularly cute animals. The colors that adorn their bodies are not very flattering. Their bodies are spiny and have numerous rays. The bodies of these fishes are also riddled with dark flecks.

How do they communicate?

Kelp Rockfish communicate via gestures, motions, and sounds. Kelpfish rockfish can produce rumbles and growls.

How big is a Kelp Rockfish?

A Kelp Rockfish is typically 9-17 in (20-43 cm) long, which makes it 4-7 times bigger than a Mickey Mouse Platy.

How fast can a Kelp Rockfish swim?

A Kelp Rockfish may swim as fast as about 25-30 mph (40-50 kph).

How much does a Kelp Rockfish weigh?

A Kelp Rockfish may weigh up to 2 lb (0.91 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The males and females of the Kelp Rockfish do not have specific names.

What would you call a baby Kelp Rockfish?

Much like other fishes, a baby Kelp Rockfish is called different names before reaching adulthood. These include larva, fry, juvenile, and fingerlings.

What do they eat?

Kelp Rockfish eat crustaceans, small fish, squid, night smelt, and cephalopods.

Are they poisonous?

Kelp Rockfish have spines on their dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins which are venomous. The venom isn't fatal or toxic but causes pain.

Would they make a good pet?

Kelp Rockfish may not make a good pet since they favor their habitat of Kelp Forests. But a well-equipped aquarium capable of providing such a habitat would be adequate.

Also, Kelp Rockfish is an important part of its ecosystem, since, at different stages of its life, it is used as prey by many different animals such as lingcod, salmon, cabezon, birds, porpoises, pinnipeds, and mainly by sharks, seals, and dolphins.

Did you know...

Apart from kelp beds, the Kelp Rockfish may also prefer rocky seabeds.

The natural Kelp Rockfish camouflage, wherein it blends in rocky beds in the ocean comes in handy while hiding from predators. A typical Kelp Rockfish predator is a much larger fish, like sharks, seals, and dolphins.

Kelp Rockfish has been observed at a depth of 153.18 ft (46 m). It is favored by leisurely fishing enthusiasts since its usual depth is only about 40 ft (12 m). Apart from recreational fishing, the Kelp Rockfish is not considered for commercial fishing. Spear-fishing near the coast is a common method used for catching Kelp Rockfish.

In Mexico, the Kelp Rockfish is referred to by the name 'rocote sargacero'.

Kelp vs. Brown Rockfish

The most distinguishing feature among Kelp and Brown Rockfishes is that the Brown Rockfish has a prominent dark spot on the gill cover that the Kelp Rockfish does not possess.

Brown Rockfish may become as long as 22 in (55.8 cm), whereas Kelp Rockfish may only reach up to 17 in (43 cm).

Kelp Rockfish live for a maximum of 25 years whereas Brown Rockfish live up to 30 years.

Another point of difference is the number of gill rakers each fish possesses. The Brown Rock-fish possesses 21-30 gill rakers, while the Kelp Rockfish possesses 28-36 gill rakers.

For a Kelp Rockfish, a kelp forest is an ideal habitat, whereas, for Brown Rock-fish, the sea bottom and rocky terrain are ideal.

Why are they called Kelp Rockfish?

Kelp Rockfish have been named so because they are known to kelp beds in the ocean. They not only inhabit the smaller kelp beds but the entire length of the blades. They feed at night, so during the day, they lie motionless, floating, sometimes downside-up in the kelp forests.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including milkfish, or codfish.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Kelp rockfish coloring pages.

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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

Oluwatosin Michael picture

Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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Fact-checked by Tehil David

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Tehil David picture

Tehil DavidBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Tehil David Singh is a fact checker with a Bachelor's degree in English literature from St.Xavier's College, Palayamkottai, and a Master's degree in Philosophy, and Religion from Madurai Kamaraj University. He has a passion for writing and hopes to become a story writer in the future. Tehil has previously interned in content writing and has been a content creator for the last three years. In his personal life, he enjoys singing, songwriting, performing, and writing stories.

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