Ocean Whitefish – Caulolatilus princeps.
Identifying Characteristics and Biology
- Elongated fish with a small mouth.
- Long, fairly even, continuous dorsal fin that is unnotched.
- Long anal fin with two spines at the front.
- Coloring is brown on top and the sides fading to pale cream on the belly. Fins brightly colored with yellow or green streaks.
- Ocean whitefish can grow to 40 inches in length.
- Females mature at about 3 years (16 inches) and males mature at about 4 years (19 inches). Females and males grow at the same rate.
- Their diet is invertabrates and other small fish.
Range and Habitat
- Ocean whitefish is found from central California to the Gulf of California.
- They enjoy shallow reefs and the ocean bottom, from the subtidal zone to about 400 feet out.
- Great sport fish.
- Excellent eating fish.
Black and white image and drawing of ocean whitefish above courtesy California Department Fish and Game. Color picture of ocean whitefish by John Shelton.