How long do they live? The oldest Redbanded rockfish was estimated to be 106 years old [1]. I’ve already mentioned that mark and tag estimates are probably not the best way to estimate the age of a fish, but worse, this species happens to look nearly identical to the Flag rockfish, Sebastes ruberrimus, so the information about these two species may be a bit mixed up.

Where are they found? You can find Redbanded rockfish at depths anywhere from 162 feet to over 2,000 feet in the Bering Sea all the way to southern California [2]. Like most rockfish, they prefer the rocky bottom of the ocean floor.

What do they eat? I’m going to assume Redbanded rockfish enjoys a diet of shrimp, smaller fish, and the occasional squid, but that’s just an educated guess based on other rockfish because I couldn’t find what they actually eat.

What do they look like? Well, a lot like Tiger rockfish, except one less stripe. Oh, and nearly identical to Flag rockfish, but mitochondrial DNA evidence indicates that they are different species. Since Flag rockfish are not going to be included in the list of long-lived species, I’ll just throw a picture of them here so that you can be just as confused as I am. Oh, and the only reason they are not on this website is because no one has actually bothered to see how long they live. See figures 1, 2, and 3.

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Figure 1. Up front and avoiding the Final Fantasy 7 Emerald Weapon boss, you see the Redbanded rockfish.
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Figure 2. Another Redbanded rockfish.
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Figure 3. And here you see a Flag rockfish, which looks absolutely no different from the Redbanded rockfish in figures 1 and 2.

How do they reproduce? Redbanded rockfish are viviparous and they do not take care of their young once the female releases the larvae into the water. When they reach sexual maturity is a thing of debate. Sexual maturity ages range from 6 years old to 19 years old [2]. Some researchers claim this difference is due to location of the fish along the Pacific Ocean and other researchers say the variation is due to researchers using different sampling techniques.

How do scientists know how old they are? The Alaska Fish and Game Department used mark and tag age estimates [1].

So what are we lacking? Sound sexual maturity estimates would be a good place to start. Reproductive senescence of this species would be interesting as well. I’m beginning to think all rockfish are immortal until we eat them (what a crappy way to end Highlander). There is no information regarding Redbanded rockfish on the NCBI. There is, however, mitochondrial DNA data available in “A Comparison of Genetic Identifications and Pigment Patterns of Sebastes Larvae Caught on NOAA  Cruise 9809.”

Conservation status: Unknown, which is sad considering this is one of the longest lived species on the planet.

 

  1. Kristen Munk, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Mark Tag and Age Lab. PO Box 25526, Juneau, AK 99802, USA.
  2. Love, Milton S., Mary Yoklavich, and Lyman K. Thorsteinson. The rockfishes of the northeast Pacific. Pages 134-135. Univ of California Press, 2002.
  3. Kendall Jr, A. W., and A. K. Gray. “A comparison of genetic identifications and pigment patterns of Sebastes larvae caught on NOAA ship John N.”Cobbcruise 9809 (2001): 2001-02.