Treefish
Sebastes serriceps

Physical Description

  • Short and compressed body with short thick spines
  • Yellowish to olive body with thick black vertical stripes on sides
  • Pink, red, or orange lips
  • Two black bands radiated from the eyes
  • Young treefish have white-edged fins

Range

  • San Francisco to central Baja California, Mexico
  • Rare north of Santa Barbara

Habitat

  • Primarily shallow water fish, can be down to 100 feet depth
  • Crevices, rocky areas, caves, near kelp

Diet

  • Shrimp, spider crabs, cancer crabs, small fish, octopus¬†

Predators

Interesting Facts

  • Also called convict fish, lipstick fish, lipstick bass, and barber pole
  • They rarely travel far from home and are highly territorial. The pink lips may be to warn off other fish.¬†
  • Like all rockfish, they have venomous spines

Sources: Pierfishing.com; Milton Love; California Department of Fish and Game

Photo: Rocio Gajon Bunker

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