How long do they live? They can reach up to 116 years old [1] based on mark and tag estimates by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Where are they found? Tiger rockfish can be found from 60 to 984 feet in the cold Pacific waters from the Gulf of Alaska all the way to northern California [2].

What do they eat? They feed on bottom dwelling creatures like crabs and shrimp [2].

What do they look like? They are beautiful! Tiger rockfish can reach a maximum length of 24 inches [2]. They usually have 5 distinct red, purple, or black stripes along their body and two stripes behind their eyes. The banding is an important feature when you’re trying to differentiate between Tiger rockfish and Redbanded rockfish, which  instead have 4 bars along their body. They also have some very strong ridges behind their eyes. See figures 1 and 2.

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Figure 1. Tiger rockfish.
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Figure 2. Another Tiger rockfish showing off those lovely stripes.

How do they reproduce? From what I could track down on the internet, Tiger rockfish may not reach sexual maturity until over 8 years of age [3]. They are viviparous and give birth to live young.

How do scientists know how old they are? Mark and tag age estimates [1], which could be underestimating the lifespan of these fish.

So what are we lacking? Mark and tag may not be a very effective way to estimate age in long-lived and slow growing species. Age validation using radiometric analysis would be a good place to start. Surprisingly, the nuclear genome of the Tiger rockfish is on NCBI. I could not find information regarding reproductive senescence of these fish.

Conservation status: Unknown. I did not find information regarding the conservation status of these fish on IUCN Red List, NOAA, or Fishbase.

Please contact me if you have information regarding how the Tiger rockfish avoids aging and/ or anything about the conservation and population status of this fish.

 

  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 114-116. Univ of California Press, 2002.

3. The Dallas World Aquarium. Tiger rockfish. http://www.dwazoo.com/animal/tiger-rockfish/. Accessed 9/20/2016