Fun Ocean Whitefish Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
May 04, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Ocean Whitefish facts for children are educational.

The ocean whitefish (Caulolatilus princeps), is a species of fish that is native to the North American regions and is mostly found in the Pacific water bodies. They spend most of the day on the surface of the water and go back to the depth at night and take shelter in the reefs and kelp beds.

These fish are also known as blanquillo or pez blanco. In the commercial industry, they are not targeted but are caught accidentally by fisheries since they can be found in the deep waters feeding on small crustaceans and fish.

Since these fish are abundant in nature, there is no restriction on fishing them, making them a good catch for recreational purposes.

If you liked these facts about ocean whitefish, then you'll surely like these facts about swai fish and marlins too.

Ocean Whitefish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Ocean Whitefish?

The ocean whitefish, also known as blanquillo or pez blanco, is a commercial fish species that belongs to the tilefish family and is common in British Columbia and the waters of the coast of California. Tilefish are known for their elongated body and continuous dorsal fin and bitter taste.

What class of animal does an Ocean Whitefish belong to?

Ocean whitefish (Caulolatilus princeps) belong to the class of Actinopterygii, they are ray-finned fish. Actinopterygii is divided into two different classes Cladistia and Actinopteri. Actinopterygians comprise almost 30,000 species of fish including piranha and other fish.

How many Ocean Whitefish are there in the world?

Due to a lack of data, an accurate count of the population of this fish in its natural habitat range cannot be stated.

It is, however, known that these fish species are found in an abundant distribution range as they are not commercial fish and are caught in large numbers accidentally in the fishing industry on the coast of California and other offshore islands.

Where does an Ocean Whitefish live?

Ocean whitefish are found in the Eastern Pacific, have a range from British Columbia to Peru, and are mostly found on the banks of the California coast on Santa Barbara's Point Conception and Mexico's Baja California. They are found in rocky reefs and sandy bottoms.

What is an Ocean Whitefish's habitat?

Ocean whitefish (Caulolatilus princeps) usually prefer to live in rocky reef habitats and kelp beds in a depth of 10-500 ft (3-152.4 m). They spend most of the day swimming at the surface of the water near piers with deep water and can also be found in sandy or muddy substrates.

They are a migratory fish species and will exhibit a northward migration that takes them to the Baja California of Mexico which is their spawning grounds.

In the US their habitat is mostly the deep waters of Southern California and near offshore islands around Santa Catalina, Santa Barbara Islands, San Clemente, and the Cortez Banks.

Who do Ocean Whitefish live with?

Ocean whitefish are a solitary species of fish that take shelter in kelp beds, pier banks, and rocky reefs at night. They do however come together during mating or spawning season.

How long does an Ocean Whitefish live?

These commercial fish have a maximum lifespan of 13 years in the wild given it has a proper food source to thrive on.

How do they reproduce?

The ocean whitefish males reach sexual maturity when they are four or five years of age and the females reach sexual maturity when they are three or four years of age.

Ocean whitefish in California usually spawn from March to July and can breed multiple times in a season.

What is their conservation status?

Ocean whitefish are currently listed as a fish species that is of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List due to their abundance in the seas and oceans.

Ocean Whitefish Fun Facts

What does Ocean Whitefish look like?

An Ocean whitefish.

The ocean whitefish (Caulolatilus princeps) have an elongated body much like the tilefish family to which they belong. Their fins are yellowish with blue pectoral fins. Their anal fins fade after they die, though their dorsal fin is continuous, covering the entirety of the body, from the head to the tail.

How cute are they?

It would be far-fetched to call these fish cute! They are not the best in the looks department!

How do they communicate?

Most fish communicate with vocalizations like croaking and popping sounds which are used mostly for spawning, fighting, and breeding.

How big is an Ocean Whitefish?

These fish can grow an average size of 12-14.9 in (30.5-38 cm) and in some cases can grow up to 40 in (101.6 cm) in length!

How fast can an Ocean Whitefish swim?

Due to a lack of data, the speed at which these fish can swim cannot be stated.

How much does an Ocean Whitefish weigh?

Ocean whitefish have an average weight of 7 lb (3.2 kg) but in rare cases, they can be as heavy as 13.6 lb (6 kg)!

What are the male and female names of the species?

No specific name has been assigned to either sex of these fish species.

What would you call a baby Ocean Whitefish?

Just like all other fish babies, ocean whitefish babies are called fry.

What do they eat?

These fish are carnivorous and feed off of crabs, shrimps, krill, anchovies, and smaller marine invertebrates.

Are they poisonous?

No, they are not poisonous and pose no threat to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

There are no records of these fish being kept as pets as they are mainly caught for their meat as a means of consumption in the East Pacific and parts of California.

Did you know...

Blanquillo or ocean whitefish can grow up to three feet long.

In 1998, a whitefish was caught that weighed 13 pounds (5.8 kg).

The colors on these fish fade when they die.

These fish are the only members of the Malacanthidae family that can be found in Californian waters.

The meat of this fish has a mild taste with a flaky texture due to which fishing them is always a prize.

According to archaeological findings, these fish were an important source of food for Native Americans.

What does ocean whitefish taste like?

These fish are great to eat and have a mild taste. They are, however, great food sources due to reports of the meat having a bitter taste from the ocean whitefish that have been caught near the shallow waters of offshore islands of Southern California.

How to catch ocean whitefish

Ocean whitefish fishing season is usually open from the beginning of March to the end of December for management areas and from the beginning of April to the end of December for anglers. Fishing is allowed all year round for divers and shore-based anglers.

In recreational fishing, a hook and line are usually the primary gear that is used to catch these fish with a standard fishing pole. The best time to catch these fish is at night in deep waters and near rocky reefs in the morning. A rod holder is required because fishing for them might turn into a long wait.

The best chances to catch these fish are on boats near islands along the coast of Southern California. Since these fish tend to attack any bait, they are easily hooked without using any special type of bait, but just because they are easy to hook doesn't mean they are easy to reel in!

Be prepared for a great struggle as they will pull against you and try to cut your hook and line using their surroundings.

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 cichlid facts and blue marlin facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable ocean whitefish coloring pages.

*The main image is a picture of the common whitefish and not an ocean whitefish. If you have a picture of the ocean whitefish, then please contact us at 

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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