Figure 1. A Rougheye rockfish

How long do they live? A really long time. Some specimens found were over 200 years old [1] and this species does not display signs of aging (negligible senescence) [2].

Where are they found? The cold depths of the North Pacific ocean where temperatures are around 31.4° F to 40.8° F [3].

What do they eat? Mostly shrimp, but they’ll eat smaller fish and crab as well [3].

Figure 2. Rougheye rockfish.

What do they look like?
These fish can appear pink in color or brown. They can grow to be 40 cm in length and the maximum weight recorded (so far) is 14 pounds [4]. See figures 1 and 2.

How do they reproduce?  Rougheye rockfish are viviparous, which means that their eggs are fertilized and incubated internally and they give live birth. Although most publications mention that these fish are slow growing, I could not track down the age at which the fish reach reproductive maturity. They do, however, continue to reproduce with no problem into extreme old age, indicating negligible senescence [2].

How do scientists know how old they are? Tag and recapture, otoliths counts, and radioactive decay dating of otoliths [1].

So what are we lacking? There’s still a lot of questions about, well, everything to do with this fish. It’s hard to study deep water fish because they die when you try to bring them to the surface. When do they reach reproductive maturity?

There is information regarding the genome of Sebastes aleutianus uploaded to NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information). There is also a little information about the mitochondrial genes that you can find by clicking here.

Conservation status: Unknown.

Please contact me if you any information about these long-lived fish and how they age.

  1. Cailliet, G. M., et al. “Age determination and validation studies of marine fishes: do deep-dwellers live longer?.” Experimental gerontology 36.4 (2001): 739-764.
  2. de Bruin, Jan-Peter, et al. “Ovarian aging in two species of long-lived rockfish, Sebastes aleutianus and S. alutus.” Biology of reproduction 71.3 (2004): 1036-1042.
  3. “Rougheye rockfish”. Alaska Fisheries Science Center. NOAA. Retrieved 2016-9-7.
  4. IGFA Scale Master Hall of Champions.