Temporal range: 33.9–0 Ma Early Oligocene to present[1]
Sebastes ruberrimus
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Scorpaeniformes
Family: Scorpaenidae
Tribe: Sebastini
Genus: Sebastes
G. Cuvier, 1829
Type species
Sebastes norvegicus[2]
(Ascanius, 1772)
  • Acutomentum Eigenmann & Beeson, 1893
  • Allosebastes Hubbs, 1951
  • Auctospina Eigenmann & Beeson, 1893
  • Emmelas Jordan & Evermann, 1898
  • Eosebastes Jordan & Evermann, 1896
  • Eusebastes Sauvage, 1878
  • Hatumeus Matsubara, 1943
  • Hispaniscus Jordan & Evermann, 1896
  • Mebarus Matsubara, 1943
  • Murasoius Matsubara, 1943
  • Neohispaniscus Matsubara, 1943
  • Pteropodus Eigenmann & Beeson, 1893
  • Primospina Eigenmann & Beeson, 1893
  • Rosicola Jordan & Evermann, 1896
  • Sebastichthys Gill, 1862
  • Sebastocarus Jordan & Evermann, 1927
  • Sebastocles Jordan & Hubbs, 1925
  • Sebastodes Gill, 1861
  • Sebastomus Gill, 1864
  • Sebastopyr Jordan & Evermann, 1927
  • Sebastomus Gill, 1864
  • Takenokius Matsubara, 1943
  • Zalopyr Jordan & Evermann, 1898

Sebastes is a genus of marine ray-finned fish belonging to the subfamily Sebastinae part of the family Scorpaenidae, most of which have the common name of rockfish. A few are called ocean perch, sea perch or redfish instead. They are found in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.


Sebastes was first described as a genus in 1829 by the French zoologist Georges Cuvier, the Dutch ichthyologist Pieter Bleeker designated Perca norvegica, which may have been originally described by the Norwegian zoologist Peter Ascanius in 1772, as the type species in 1876.[3] The genus is the type genus of both the tribe Sebastini and the subfamily Sebastinae, although some authorities treat these as the subfamily Sebastinae and the family Sebastidae, separating the Sebastidae as a distinct family from the Scorpaenidae.[4][5] but other authorities place it in the Perciformes in the suborder Scorpaenoidei.[6]

Some authorities subdivide this large genus into subgenera as follows:[7]

The genus name is derived from the Greek Sebastos, an honorific used in ancient Greek for the Roman imperial title of Augustus, an allusion to the old name for S. norvegicus on Ibiza, its type locality, which Cuvier translated as “august” or “venerable”.[7]

The fossil record of rockfish goes back to the Miocene, with unequivocal whole body fossils and otoliths from California and Japan (although fossil otoliths from Belgium, "Sebastes" weileri, may push the record back as far as the early Oligocene).[8]


Sebastes contains 109 recognized extant species in this genus are:[9][10]

Image Scientific name Common name Distribution
Sebastes aleutianus (D. S. Jordan & Evermann, 1898) rougheye rockfish North Pacific (coast of Japan to the Navarin Canyon in the Bering Sea, to the Aleutian Islands, all the way south to San Diego, California)
Sebastes alutus (C. H. Gilbert, 1890) Pacific Ocean perch North Pacific ( southern California around the Pacific rim to northern Honshū, Japan, including the Bering Sea.)
Sebastes atrovirens (D. S. Jordan & C. H. Gilbert, 1880) kelp rockfish Pacific Ocean(coast of California in the United States and Baja California in Mexico)
Sebastes auriculatus Girard, 1854 brown rockfish Pacific Ocean (Bahia San Hipolito in southern Baja California to Prince William Sound in the northern Gulf of Alaska.)
Sebastes aurora (C. H. Gilbert, 1890) aurora rockfish North Pacific
Sebastes babcocki (W. F. Thompson, 1915) redbanded rockfish Pacific Ocean ( Zhemchug Canyon in the Bering Sea and the Aleutians south to San Diego, California)
Sebastes baramenuke (Wakiya, 1917) Pacific Ocean ( northern Japan to South Korea)
Sebastes borealis Barsukov, 1970 shortraker rockfish Pacific Ocean (southeastern Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia, to Fort Bragg, California.)
Sebastes brevispinis (T. H. Bean, 1884) silvergray rockfish Pacific Ocean (Bering Sea coast of Alaska to Baja California)
Sebastes capensis (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) Cape redfish western coast of South Africa, Tristan da Cunha and southern South America,
Sebastes carnatus (D. S. Jordan & C. H. Gilbert, 1880) gopher rockfish Pacific Ocean ( Cape Blanco in Oregon, down to Punta San Roque in southern Baja California)
Sebastes caurinus J. Richardson, 1844 copper rockfish Pacific Ocean (Gulf of Alaska, to the Pacific side of the Baja California peninsula, north of Guerrero Negro.)
Sebastes cheni (Barsukov, 1988) Japanese white seaperch or Japanese blue seaperch Northwest Pacific
Sebastes chlorostictus (D. S. Jordan & C. H. Gilbert, 1880) greenspotted rockfish eastern Pacific.
Sebastes chrysomelas (D. S. Jordan & C. H. Gilbert, 1881) black-and-yellow rockfish Pacific Ocean (off California and Baja California.)
Sebastes ciliatus (Tilesius, 1813) dusky rockfish Pacific Ocean ( Bering Sea near British Columbia, in the Gulf of Alaska, and in the depths of the Aleutian Islands.)
Sebastes constellatus (D. S. Jordan & C. H. Gilbert, 1880) starry rockfish Pacific Ocean(California and Baja California. )
Sebastes cortezi (Beebe & Tee-Van, 1938) Cortez rockfish Pacific Ocean ( Gulf of California along the coast of Baja California, Mexico.)
Sebastes crameri (D. S. Jordan, 1897) darkblotched rockfish Pacific Ocean (southeast of Zhemchug Canyon in the Bering Sea to Santa Catalina Island, California)
Sebastes dallii (C. H. Eigenmann & Beeson, 1894) calico rockfish Eastern central Pacific.
Sebastes diaconus Frable, D. W. Wagman, Frierson, A. Aguilar & Sidlauskas, 2015 deacon rockfish[11] northern California to southern British Columbia.
Sebastes diploproa (C. H. Gilbert, 1890) splitnose rockfish Northeast Pacific
Sebastes elongatus Ayres, 1859 greenstriped rockfish northeast Pacific
Sebastes emphaeus (Starks, 1911) Puget Sound rockfish Pacific Ocean (Kenai Peninsula, Alaska to northern California)
Sebastes ensifer L. C. Chen, 1971 swordspine rockfish central Pacific
Sebastes entomelas (D. S. Jordan & C. H. Gilbert, 1880) widow rockfish western North America from Alaska to Baja California.
Sebastes eos (C. H. Eigenmann & R. S. Eigenmann, 1890) pink rockfish Monterey Bay in California, USA to central Baja California, Mexico
Sebastes exsul L. C. Chen, 1971 buccaneer rockfish Central Pacific: western Gulf of California.
Sebastes fasciatus D. H. Storer (fr), 1854 Acadian redfish northwestern Atlantic Ocean and its range extends from Virginia, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Nova Scotia, western Greenland and Iceland
Sebastes flammeus (D. S. Jordan & Starks, 1904) northwest Pacific.
Sebastes flavidus (Ayres, 1862) Yellowtail rockfish San Diego, California, to Kodiak Island, Alaska
Sebastes gilli (R. S. Eigenmann, 1891) Bronzespotted rockfish Monterey Bay in California, USA to northern Baja California, Mexico.
Sebastes glaucus Hilgendorf, 1880 Gray rockfish Northwest Pacific
Sebastes goodei (C. H. Eigenmann & R. S. Eigenmann, 1890) chilipepper rockfish western North America from Baja California to Vancouver.
Sebastes helvomaculatus Ayres, 1859 rosethorn rockfish Eastern Pacific.
Sebastes hopkinsi (Cramer, 1895) squarespot rockfish Eastern Pacific.
Sebastes hubbsi (Matsubara, 1937) Northwest Pacific
Sebastes ijimae (D. S. Jordan & Metz, 1913) Japan and South Korea.
Sebastes inermis G. Cuvier, 1829 Japanese red seaperch coasts of Japan and the Korean Peninsula.
Sebastes iracundus (D. S. Jordan & Starks, 1904) Northwest Pacific.
Sebastes itinus (D. S. Jordan & Starks, 1904) Japan.
Sebastes jordani (C. H. Gilbert, 1896) shortbelly rockfish Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada to northern Baja California, Mexico
Sebastes joyneri Günther, 1878 Togot seaperch, or offshore seaperch Japan and Korea
Sebastes kiyomatsui Y. Kai & Nakabo, 2004 Japan.
Sebastes koreanus I. S. Kim & W. O. Lee, 1994 Korea.
Sebastes lentiginosus L. C. Chen, 1971 freckled rockfish Santa Catalina Island in southern California, USA to northern Baja California
Sebastes levis (C. H. Eigenmann & R. S. Eigenmann, 1889) cowcod southern California
Sebastes longispinis (Matsubara, 1934) Japan and South Korea.
Sebastes macdonaldi (C. H. Eigenmann & Beeson, 1893) Mexican rockfish California, USA to southern Baja California, Mexico and the Gulf of California
Sebastes maliger (D. S. Jordan & C. H. Gilbert, 1880) quillback rockfish Pacific coast from the Gulf of Alaska to the northern Channel Islands of Southern California.
Sebastes matsubarai Hilgendorf, 1880 northern Japan.
Sebastes melanops Girard, 1856 black rockfish Oregon, California, Washington, British Columbia, Alaska
Sebastes melanosema R. N. Lea & Fitch, 1979 semaphore rockfish southern California, USA to central Baja California, Mexico.
Sebastes melanostictus (Matsubara, 1934) blackspotted rockfish North Pacific.
Sebastes melanostomus (C. H. Eigenmann & R. S. Eigenmann, 1890) blackgill rockfish Washington, USA to central Baja California, Mexico.
Sebastes mentella Travin, 1951 deepwater redfish North Atlantic
Sebastes miniatus (D. S. Jordan & C. H. Gilbert, 1880) vermilion rockfish North America from Baja California to Alaska.
Sebastes minor Barsukov, 1972 Hokkaido, Japan to Sakhalin, Primorskii Krai, and the southern Kuril Islands.
Sebastes moseri Eitner, 1999 whitespeckled rockfish Northeast Pacific.
Sebastes mystinus (D. S. Jordan & C. H. Gilbert, 1881) blue rockfish[11] northeastern Pacific Ocean, ranging from northern Baja California to central Oregon.
Sebastes nebulosus Ayres, 1854 China rockfish Kachemak Bay in the northern Gulf of Alaska to Redondo Beach and San Nicolas Island in southern California.
Sebastes nigrocinctus Ayres, 1859 tiger rockfish Pacific Ocean off Kodiak Island, and from Prince William Sound, Alaska, south to Point Buchon, central California.
Sebastes nivosus Hilgendorf, 1880
Sebastes norvegicus (Ascanius, 1772) golden redfish North Atlantic.
Sebastes notius L. C. Che], 1971 Guadalupe Island, Mexico.
Sebastes nudus Matsubara, 1943 Japan and South Korea.
Sebastes oblongus Günther, 1877 Japan and South Korea.
Sebastes oculatus Valenciennes, 1833 Patagonian redfish Southeast Pacific and Southwest Atlantic: Chile, Argentina, and the Falkland Islands.
Sebastes ovalis (Ayres, 1862) speckled rockfish Eastern Pacific
Sebastes owstoni (D. S. Jordan & W. F. Thompson, 1914) Japanese yellow seaperch Japan to Primorskii Krai, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the North Korea
Sebastes pachycephalus Temminck & Schlegel, 1843 Northwest Pacific
Sebastes paucispinis Ayres, 1854 Bocaccio rockfish Stepovak Bay, Alaska to central Baja California
Sebastes peduncularis L. C. Chen, 1975 Eastern Central Pacific.
Sebastes phillipsi (Fitch, 1964) chameleon rockfish Monterey Bay to Newport Beach in southern California, USA.
Sebastes pinniger (T. N. Gill, 1864) canary rockfish south of Shelikof Strait in the eastern Gulf of Alaska to Punta Colonet in northern Baja California.
Sebastes polyspinis (Taranetz & Moiseev, 1933) northern rockfish North Pacific.
Sebastes proriger (D. S. Jordan & C. H. Gilbert, 1880) redstripe rockfish Bering Sea and Amchitka Island in the Aleutian chain to San Diego, California
Sebastes rastrelliger (D. S. Jordan & C. H. Gilbert, 1880) grass rockfish Eastern Pacific
Sebastes reedi (Westrheim & Tsuyuki, 1967) yellowmouth rockfish Eastern Pacific.
Sebastes rosaceus Ayres, 1854 rosy rockfish Eastern Pacific
Sebastes rosenblatti L. C. Chen, 1971 greenblotched rockfish San Francisco in California, USA to central Baja California, Mexico.
Sebastes ruberrimus (Cramer, 1895) yelloweye rockfish East Pacific and range from Baja California to Dutch harbor in Alaska
Sebastes rubrivinctus (D. S. Jordan & C. H. Gilbert, 1880) flag rockfish California and Baja California
Sebastes rufinanus R. N. Lea & Fitch, 1972 dwarf red rockfish eastern central Pacific, especially around San Clemente Island off the coast of southern California
Sebastes rufus (C. H. Eigenmann & R. S. Eigenmann, 1890) bank rockfish Fort Bragg in northern California, USA to central Baja California and Guadalupe Island (off northern central Baja California) in Mexico.
Sebastes saxicola (C. H. Gilbert, 1890) stripetail rockfish Yakutat Bay, Alaska to Rompiente Point, Baja California, Mexico.
Sebastes schlegelii Hilgendorf, 1880 Korean rockfish northern Asia.
Sebastes scythropus (D. S. Jordan & Snyder, 1900) Japan.
Sebastes semicinctus (C. H. Gilbert, 1897) halfbanded rockfish Eastern Central Pacific
Sebastes serranoides (C. H. Eigenmann & R. S. Eigenmann, 1890) olive rockfish Eastern Pacific.
Sebastes serriceps (D. S. Jordan & C. H. Gilbert, 1880) treefish eastern Pacific Ocean with a range from San Francisco, California to central Baja California, Mexico.
Sebastes simulator L. C. Chen, 1971 pinkrose rockfish San Pedro in southern California, USA to Guadalupe Island (off northern central Baja California) in Mexico.
Sebastes sinensis (C. H. Gilbert, 1890) blackmouth rockfish Gulf of California.
Sebastes spinorbis L. C. Chen, 1975 Eastern Central Pacific.
Sebastes steindachneri Hilgendorf, 1880 northern Japan to the southern Kuril Islands, the northern Sea of Japan, and the Sea of Okhotsk. Reported from South Korea
Sebastes taczanowskii Steindachner, 1880 white-edged rockfish Northwest Pacific coast
Sebastes thompsoni (D. S. Jordan & C. L. Hubbs, 1925) northern Japan
Sebastes trivittatus Hilgendorf, 1880 threestripe rockfish
Sebastes umbrosus (D. S. Jordan & C. H. Gilbert, 1882) honeycomb rockfish Point Pinos, Monterey County in central California, USA to southern central Baja California, Mexico.
Sebastes variabilis (Pallas, 1814) light dusky rockfish Japan, east coast of Kamchatka to Cape Ol'utorskii in western Bering Sea, along the Aleutian Islands in the eastern Bering Sea, through the Gulf of Alaska south to Johnstone Strait, British Columbia and to central Oregon.
Sebastes variegatus Quast, 1971 harlequin rockfish Bowers Bank and Petrel Bank in the Aleutian chain to Newport, Oregon, USA.
Sebastes varispinis L. C. Chen, 1975 Eastern Central Pacific.
Sebastes ventricosus Temminck & Schlegel, 1843 Japanese black seaperch Northwest Pacific
Sebastes viviparus Krøyer, 1845 Norway redfish Norwegian coast from Kattegat to Tanafjord in Finnmark, rare off Bear Island, northern part of North Sea, around Shetland Islands, Scotland, northern England, Wales and Ireland, rare in the English Channel; Rockall Bank, common around Faroes and Iceland; sporadic off East Greenland.
Sebastes vulpes Döderlein (de), 1884 fox jacopever Japan and Korea.
Sebastes wakiyai (Matsubara, 1934) Japan and South Korea
Sebastes wilsoni (C. H. Gilbert, 1915) pygmy rockfish East Pacific, for the Gulf of Alaska to Baja California, Mexico.
Sebastes zacentrus (C. H. Gilbert, 1890) sharpchin rockfish Semisopochnoi Island in the Aleutian chain to San Diego, California, USA.
Sebastes zonatus L. C. Chen & Barsukov, 1976 Japan and South Korea


Sebastes species have bodies which vary from elongate to deep, and which may be moderately to highly compressed with a comparatively large head. Their eyes vary from large to small. They may have spines on the head or these may be absent, if spines are present these can be small and weak to robust and there can be up to 8 of them. They lack a spiny horizontal ridge below the eye. The jaws have many small conical teeth and there are teeth on the roof of the mouth. The single dorsal fin is typically strongly incised at the posterior of the spiny portion which contains 12-15 robust, venom-bearing spines and to the rear of these are 9-16 soft rays, The anal fin has 2-4 spines and 6 to 11 soft rays. There is a spine in each of the pelvic fins as well as 5 soft rays and these are placed under the pectoral fins. The pectoral fins are large and may be rounded or pointed in shape with 14-22 soft rays, the longest being the central rays. The caudal fin is straight to slightly concave. The lateral line may have pored or tubed scales.[12] They vary in size from a maximum total length of 13.7 cm (5.4 in) in S. koreanus to 108 cm (43 in) in S. borealis.[9]


Sebastes rockfish are found in the temperate North and South Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.[12] Rockfish range from the intertidal zone to almost 3,000 m (9,800 ft) deep, usually living benthically on various substrates, often, as the name suggests, around rock outcrops.[13]


Sebastes rockfish may be long-lived, amongst the longest-living fish on earth, with several species known to surpass 100 years of age, and a maximum reported age of 205 years for S. aleutianus.[13]

Ecotoxicology, radioecology

Like all carnivores, these fish can bioaccumulate some pollutants or radionuclides such as cesium. Highly radioactive rockfish have been caught in a port near Fukushima city, Japan, not far from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, nearly 2 years after the nuclear disaster (ex: 107000 Bq/kg[14] (2013-02-12); 116000 Bq/kg[14] (2013-02-13) and 132000Bq/kg[14] (2013-02-13), respectively 1070, 1160, and 1320 times more than the maximum allowed by Japanese authorities (as updated on April 1, 2012)[14]


Sebastes rockfish are important sport and commercial fish, and many species have been overfished. As a result, seasons are tightly controlled in many areas. Sebastes species are sometimes fraudulently substituted for the more expensive northern red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus).[15]


  1. ^ Sepkoski, J. (2002). "A compendium of fossil marine animal genera". Bulletins of American Paleontology. 364: 560. Archived from the original on 2009-02-20.
  2. ^ Kendall, A.W.Jr. "An Historical Review of Sebastes Taxonomy and Systematics" (PDF). NOAA.
  3. ^ a b Eschmeyer, William N.; Fricke, Ron & van der Laan, Richard (eds.). "Genera in the family Sebastidae". Catalog of Fishes. California Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  4. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2021). "Sebastidae" in FishBase. June 2021 version.
  5. ^ J. S. Nelson; T. C. Grande; M. V. H. Wilson (2016). Fishes of the World (5th ed.). Wiley. pp. 468–475. ISBN 978-1-118-34233-6.
  6. ^ Ricardo Betancur-R; Edward O. Wiley; Gloria Arratia; et al. (2017). "Phylogenetic classification of bony fishes". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 17 (162). doi:10.1186/s12862-017-0958-3.
  7. ^ a b Christopher Scharpf & Kenneth J. Lazara, eds. (22 May 2021). "Order Perciformes (Part 8): Suborder Scorpaenoidei: Families Sebastidae, Setarchidae and Neosebastidae". The ETYFish Project Fish Name Etymology Database. Christopher Scharpf and Kenneth J. Lazara. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  8. ^ "Sebastes Cuvier 1829 (ray-finned fish)". fossilworks. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  9. ^ a b Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2021). Species of Sebastes in FishBase. June 2021 version.
  10. ^ Eschmeyer, William N.; Fricke, Ron & van der Laan, Richard (eds.). "Species in the genus Sebastes". Catalog of Fishes. California Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  11. ^ a b Frable, B.W.; Wagman, D.W.; Frierson, T.N.; Aguilar, A.; Sidlauskas, B.L. (2015). "A new species of Sebastes (Scorpaeniformes: Sebastidae) from the northeastern Pacific, with a redescription of the blue rockfish, S. mystinus (Jordan and Gilbert, 1881)" (PDF). Fishery Bulletin. 113 (4): 355–377. doi:10.7755/fb.113.4.1.
  12. ^ a b "Sebastes". Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  13. ^ a b Cailliet, G.M.; Andrews, A.H.; Burton, E.J.; Watters, D.L.; Kline, D.E.; Ferry-Graham, L.A. (2001). "Age determination and validation studies of marine fishes: do deep-dwellers live longer?". Experimental Gerontology. 36 (4–6): 739–764. doi:10.1016/s0531-5565(00)00239-4. PMID 11295512. S2CID 42894988.
  14. ^ a b c d TEPCO (2013): Nuclide Analysis Results of Fish and Shellfish (The Ocean Area Within 20km Radius of Fukushima Daiichi NPS <1/13>.
  15. ^ "Regulatory Fish Encyclopedia". U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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