Widow rockfish

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Widow rockfish
Widow rockfish in Soquel Canyon.jpg
A school of widow rockfish, Sebastes entomelas
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Scorpaeniformes
Family: Sebastidae
Genus: Sebastes
Species: S. entomelas
Binomial name
Sebastes entomelas
(D. S. Jordan & C. H. Gilbert, 1880)

Sebastes entomelas, 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 (250 mm) are lighter in color and are tinged with vague streaks of orange.


The widow rockfish occurs from Todos Santos Bay, Baja California, to Kodiak Island, Alaska.

Natural history[edit]

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 (300 mm) long and 3 years old. Fifty percent are mature when 12.75 inches (324 mm) 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 (324 mm) long, to about 900,000 in a fish 20 inches (510 mm) long.

Fishing information[edit]

Widow rockfish are generally caught by sport anglers fishing on or just above the bottom in deep water up to 1,200 feet (370 m), 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.


External links[edit]