- Juvenile giant sea bass coloring is radically different than adults (#18)
- Juveniles often mistaken for different fish, as they resemble perch
- Bright red or orange body with white and dark patches on the sides
- Black spots all over, with dark pectoral fins
- Orange fades to a bronzy purple and spots fade as fish gets older
- Humboldt Bay, California to Cabo San Lucas, Baja California
- Throughout the Gulf of California
- Rare, but occasionally, north of Point Conception, California
- Juveniles live in sandy flat areas close to the heads of submarine canyons, then transition to rocky reefs, and eventually kelp forests as they mature
- Males reach sexual maturity at 40 pounds, females at 50-60 pounds (age 11-13 for both genders)
- Spawn from July-September, where one female may produce 60 million eggs!
- Eggs are 1/24th inch in diameter and float to the surface
- Larvae drift and feed on plankton for about a month before becoming juveniles
- Mysid shrimp that live above sandy flats
- Giant sea bass are the largest resident bony fishes in California.
- They are long-lived, capable of living 72-75 years, and do not reproduce for the first time until 13-15 years of age.
- They can temporarily flash (change) the brightness of the color of their skin or spots.
- Juvenile giant sea bass have been documented displaying cryptic behavior where they float near sand ripples and pretend to be stray kelp.
Sources: spottinggiantseabass.msi.ucsb.edu; California Department of Fish and Wildlife; Kayla Blincow, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; National Park Service
Photo: Herb Gruenhagen