Zebra Perch
Kyphosus azureus

Physical Description

  • Oval-shaped body, compressed 
  • Gray, silver, greenish on back, whitish below
  • Dark vertical stripes (usually 10) on sides, where common name comes from
  • Juveniles have less distinct bars than adults 
  • Head has no scales
  • Bright blue spot on gill cover


  • Klamath River Estuary, Oregon to Baja California, Mexico
  • Gulf of California, Mexico
  • Rare north of southern California


  • Shallow inshore areas
  • Coastal rocky reefs, reef flats with algae growth
  • 0 to 26 feet depth


  • Exclusively herbivorous
  • Algae, red algae most common


  • Known to be poor eating and rarely found in predatory fish stomachs 

Interesting Facts

  • Though referred to as a Zebra Perch, actually a member of the Sea Chub family of fish
  • Not to be confused with a “true” perch called the Zebra Perch that is a freshwater fish
  • Often found in small schools, mixed with opaleye and halfmoon

Sources: Fishbase; Project Noah; KenJonesFishing.com; wetwebmedia.com

Photo: Weiwei Gao

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