How long do they live? They can reach up to 118 years old [1] based on mark and tag estimates of fish, but that’s tricky with slow growing fish, so this may very well be an overly conservative estimate. Bare in mind, like other long-lived rockfish, Yelloweyes slows down growing around 30 years of age.

Where are they found? Yelloweye rockfish can be found from 48 to 1,800 feet in the cold Pacific waters from the Aleutian Islands, Gulf of Alaska to central California [2].

What do they eatThey eat pretty much anything, even other rockfish. Other meals include crabs, shrimp, and smaller fish species [2].

What do they look like? They’re one of the largest of the Scorpaenidae rockfish family and they can reach 36 inches in length and up to 25 pounds [2]. As they mature they change in color from deep red to orange and they have 13 dorsal spines (an important factor in making sure you don’t have a Shortspine Thornyhead). This color change made it very hard for early researchers to classify this fish as one species. See Figures 1 and 2. Oh, and they have yellow eyes, but you may have already figured that out.

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Figure 1. This is a adult Yelloweye Rockfish, looking suspiciously like a lot of the other rockfish and thornyhead species.
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Figure 2. The fish closest to the camera is a juvenile Yelloweye rockfish.

How do they reproduce? Yelloweye rockfish reach sexual maturity around 19 to 22 years old and eggs are fertilized internally. Larvae is released into the water at different times based on the geographical location of the female [1].

How do scientists know how old they are? Mark and tag age estimates [1] and otolith readings.

So what are we lacking? Age verification because it’s likely that they can live much longer than the mark and tag estimates. There is no information about the nuclear or mitochondrial genome on NCBI. I could not find information regarding reproductive senescence of Yelloweye rockfish.

Conservation status: Not evaluated by IUCN, but NOAA lists the Yelloweye rockfish as threatened to endangered.

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Figure 3. Make sure to check the IUCN red list or NOAA endangered list before you eat something.

 

  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.