Giant Sea Bass, Stereolepis gigas
The Giant Sea Bass (Stereolepis gigas) is a fish that is native to the North Pacific Ocean. In spite of its conspicuous size and curious nature, comparatively little is known about its biology or behavior.
There are published reports of giant sea bass achieving sizes of 8.2 feet and a weight of up to 562 pounds. Aside from its tremendous size, the giant sea bass is known also for its lengthy life span. The giant sea bass matures around the age of 11 or 12, around the weight of 50 pounds. However, some of the largest specimens have been known to exceed 7 feet and are estimated to be 75 years or older.
Within the eastern North Pacific, its range is from Humboldt Bay, California to the Gulf of California, Mexico, most commonly from Point Conception southward. In the western North Pacific, it can be found around Japan. It normally stays in shallow water, near kelp forests, drop offs, or rocky bottoms and sand or mudflats.
These large fish consume crustaceans, as well as a wide variety of fish. For populations off of the coast of California, anchovies and croaker are the main food sources. Mackerel, sheepshead, sand bass, white fish, and several types of crab also comprise the sea bass’s diet. In spite of their great size and bulky appearance, giant sea bass have been known to move extremely quick, outstripping bonito.
Image Caption: The Giant Sea Bass at the California Academy of Sciences. Credit: Caitlin Childs/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)