(D. S. Jordan & C. H. Gilbert, 1880)
The Widow rockfish is a type of rockfish (Sebastidae) that lives mainly off the coast of western North America from Alaska to Baja California. This fish is also commonly called widowfish and red snapper.
The body of the widow rockfish is elongate and compressed. The head is relatively short, and the upper profile is slightly curved. The mouth is relatively small, the lower jaw projects slightly. The color is brassy brown over most of the body with the belly generally lighter in color, often with a reddish cast. The fin membranes, particularly in the anal and pectoral fins, are black. Specimens smaller than 10 inches are lighter in color and are tinged with vague streaks of orange.
Adult widow rockfish feed extensively on small free floating crab-like animals. Occasionally salps, small squids and anchovies are eaten. A few mature when 12 inches long and 3 years old. Fifty percent are mature when 12.75 inches long or 4 years old. Widow rockfish may live to be 16 years old. As with other rockfish fertilization is internal and the young are born live. The number of developing eggs increases from 55,000 in fish 12.75 inches long, to about 900,000 in a fish 20 inches long.
Widow rockfish are generally caught by sport anglers fishing on or just above the bottom in deep water up to 1,200 feet, although young fish may be taken at or near the surface. On occasion, widow rockfish form huge schools in midwater where they feed on small plants. At such times, they are vulnerable to recreational anglers as well as commercial trawling gear and are often taken in great quantities.
- This article was copied from California Marine Sportfish by the California Department of Fish and Game, Marine Region; a public domain resource.