Male California Sheephead
- Adult males are black with red-pink midsection
- They have red eyes and prominent square, “sheep-like” heads
- Can grow to be 3 feet long and weigh 35 pounds
- Have protruding teeth, used to prey on hard-shelled organisms
- Adult males look very different than adult females (#70)
- Juveniles are bright reddish-orange with large black spots on fins and a white stripe down their side
- Point Conception, California to Guadalupe Island, Baja California, Mexico
- Gulf of California, Mexico
- Rocky reefs
- Kelp forests
- From 10 to 100 feet depths
- Mating season is June to September
- During mating season the male becomes territorial of its spawning territory
- Dominant male leads female in circular pattern as they broadcast sperm and eggs into the water
- If a smaller male approaches, the larger male will chase him away
- The female can spawn up to 375,000 eggs in one day
- Eats sea urchins, bivalves (two-shelled animals), barnacles, and bryozoans
- Often eaten by harbor seals and sea lions
- California sheepshead are all born female but often become male later in life!
- They can live to be 53 years old, which is very long for a fish.
- At night, they hide in crevices and wrap themselves in a mucus cocoon to hide their scent from predators.
- Sheepshead often get a parasitic flatworm, but the mutualistic senorita fish clean it off of their skin and gills.
Sources: California Sea Grant; Monterey Bay Aquarium