How long do they live? Rosethorn rockfish can live at least to 87 years  [1] and likely much longer. The problem with these little fish is that they look nearly identical to the pinkrose or rosy rockfish, so much so that I can’t even tell them apart in pictures.

Where are they found?   This rockfish has been found from 80 to 1,800 feet deep from the western Gulf of Alaska to central California [2].

What do they eat?  Their diet is varied, but includes smaller fish, shrimp, and krill [2] .

What do they look like? They are easily mistaken for other species of rockfish due to the spots and the pinkish-orange color. Rosethorn rockfish are small, reaching a maximum length of 16 inches [2]. See figure 1.

Figure 1. I would not be shocked if this is a different species of rockfish that is identical to the Rosethorn rockfish. If any experts out there have better pictures to share, please email me.

How do they reproduce? There’s not much known about sexual maturity ages or reproductive senescence of this species. All Rosethorn rockfish are sexually mature by the time they reach 10.5 inches in length [2]. This rockfish is viviparous and releases larvae into the surrounding water [2].

How do scientists know how old they are? Mark and tag estimates [1], which really needs verification since this method may be underestimating the age this species can reach.

So what are we lacking? Today is a bullet point day.

  • Age verification – bomb radiocarbon would be a good method.
  • Conservation status since the Rosethorn rockfish has not been evaluated by the IUCN.
  • Population numbers.
  • Nuclear and mitochondrial genome information since there’s nothing on the NCBI website.
  • Pictures of this fish alive. Everything deserves to be seen alive at least once.

Please feel free to get in touch with me if you can contribute any information that will help us identify how this species reaches such an impressive lifespan.


  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 187-189. Univ of California Press, 2002.