California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Marine Management News Fish Identification Quiz!

fish identification quiz

by Mary Patyten, Research Writer

Welcome to the Marine Management News Fish Identification Quiz for October 2012! Here's your chance to show off your fish identification knowledge and win an official Department of Fish and Game (DFG) fish tagging cap. To qualify for the drawing, simply send the correct answers via e-mail to by November 30, 2012 correctly identifying:

  • The species of the fish pictured below (scientific name and an accepted common name), and
  • The daily bag limit, as found in the 2012-2013 Supplemental Fishing Regulations booklet.

Be sure to type "October MMN Fish Quiz" as the "Subject" of your e-mail. The winner will be selected during a random drawing from all correct answers received by November 30, 2012.

October 2012 MMN Fish Quiz Photo; Photo by E. Roberts

Biologists do not know a great deal about this species, but it is believed that their young enter the world in the late fall and winter. Females lay egg "nests" (sticky egg masses secured to suitable rocky habitat) and males are thought to guard the eggs while they develop. Juvenile fish settle into rocky habitat near shore.

This fish feeds on various sea worms, crustaceans, mollusks, fish eggs and small fishes. It ranges from the Bering Sea to Point Conception in Southern California, although it is rarely seen south of San Francisco. This species also occurs in the western Pacific Ocean south to Japan.

Rocky reef areas and kelp forests, especially those located on exposed coastlines, are the preferred habitat for this fish. It is believed that this species lives in relatively shallow waters off California, probably no deeper than 150 ft., guarding territories that are staked out when the fish reaches maturity at around 3 to 4 years of age. Divers have noted this fish may aggressively defend its territory by nipping at an offending diver's fingers.

This species has been aged to a maximum of 8 years (~12 in.) for males and 11 years (~22½ in.) for females. It has been known to reach two feet in length and around 2½ lb. This colorful fish has large skin flaps, known as cirri, over each eye.

Though it is often caught by recreational shore fishermen, sport and commercial landings are comparatively low. Little is known about the status of this species off of California.

If you think you know this species of fish, enter the prize drawing by sending an e-mail to DFG at by November 30, 2012 with the correct scientific and common name, and the daily bag limit as found in the 2012-2013 Supplemental Fishing Regulations booklet. Again, be sure to type "October MMN Fish Quiz" in the "Subject" portion of your e-mail.

Answers to the quiz and winner's names will be provided in the next issue of Marine Management News.

Return to the October 2012 Issue