How long do they live? Thanks to a lot of work in radiocarbon dating and otolith annuli analysis, we know that Giant sea bass can live up to 76 years old [1, 2]. Can they live longer than that? Likely, but considering they are critically endangered we may never know.

Where are they found? Along the coast and deeper waters of southern California to the Baja California peninsula [3].

What do they eat? The Giant sea bass likes to eat and will dine on invertebrates, crabs, and many types of fish [3].

What do they look like? With a name that includes “giant” you can probably guess that they can grow to be massive.  The largest Giant sea bass recorded was over 8 feet long and 563 pounds [3]. Check out figures 1, 2, and 3 to get a better ideas of the beauty and mass of these great fish.

Figure 1. I’m from Florida and no kidding the Giant sea bass looks a lot like a large mouth bass.
Figure 2. Stereolepis gigas.
Figure 3. Although I am not a fan of posting pictures of dead animals, I believe this photo really shows off the size that this species can reach.

How do they reproduce? Through broadcast spawning, which is also called mass spawning and females can release up to 60 million eggs during a season. That’s nuts! Although Giant sea bass like to keep their reproductive details private, researchers have found that they reach sexual maturity between 11 and 13 years old [3].

How do scientists know how old they are? There’s not much out there indicating how long these giants can live up to, but there’s a lot of data confirming that specimens can live up top 76 years old. At least the ones that have been caught. Various methods have been used including bomb radiocarbon dating, size to age estimates, and otolith annuli analysis [1, 2].

So what are we lacking? Like I mentioned above, Giant sea bass are pretty secretive about their sex lives and there’s no mention of reproductive senescence in the scientific literature that I’m aware of. Even worse, there’s no nuclear or mitochondrial genome information available for this critically endangered species. So, those are two good places to begin.

Conservation status: Critically endangered. Although protected in the US, this species is still over-fished in Mexico. I’ve probably mentioned this a few times, but critically endangered is bad. It means we’ve almost completely erased a species from this planet.

I’d love to hear from you if you have any information regarding this long-lived species.

  1. Allen, Larry G., and Allen H. Andrews. “Bomb radiocarbon dating and estimated longevity of Giant Sea Bass (Stereolepis gigas).” Bulletin, Southern California Academy of Sciences 111.1 (2012): 1-14.
  2. Hawk, Holly A., and Larry G. Allen. “Age and growth of the giant sea bass, Stereolepis gigas.” CalCOFI Rep 55 (2014): 128-134.
  3. Animal Diversity Web.org. Stereolepis gigas. Giant sea bass. Accessed 1/18/2017