California Corbina
Menticirrhus undulatus

Physical Description

  • Elongate (longer than wide) body
  • Shiny, incandescent, solid grey coloration, with wavy diagonal lines on sides
  • One barbel (fleshy filament) projecting from chin


  • Point Conception, California to Gulf of California, Mexico


  • Bottom-dwelling fish
  • Sandy beaches, shallow bays, the surf zone
  • Depths of 0-45 feet


  • 90% of diet is sand crabs
  • Will ingest mouthfuls of sand to get to sand crabs, and spit the sand out of their gills
  • Eat some clams and other crustaceans as well


  • Pacific angel shark, California halibut, bottlenose dolphin

Interesting Facts

  • Sometimes they feed in such shallow water in the surf zone, that their backs are exposed! 

Sources: California Department of Fish and Wildlife; Ocean Protection Council

Photo: Herb Gruenhagen

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