Bocaccio, Sebastes paucispinis

The Bocaccio (Sebastes paucispinis) is a member of the Sebastidae rockfish family. Other names regarding this species include the Salmon Grouper, Grouper, Tom Cod referring to juveniles, and Slimy. In Greek, sebastes means “magnificent” and paucispinis is Latin for “few spines”.

These fish can be found from Stepovak Bay, Alaska to central Baja California, but is mostly abundant from Oregon to the northern part of Baja California. They have been seen from a variety of depths from the surface to 1,568 feet; most live between 150 to 1,000 feet. The juveniles stay in shallower water due to the protection provided by floating kelp mats or driftwood. Shallow water kelp forests and oil platforms also aid in avoiding danger, as they can use them to dodge and hide from their predators. As the fish age, they move into deeper and colder water. The Monterey submarine canyon is an ideal location for many marine organisms to live in or migrate through, and bocaccio in this canyon can consume multiple marine species.

This fish is one of the larger rockfish and can achieve lengths of up to 3 feet and live to 45 years. The females grow faster than the males and they also live longer. There’s a difference in the maturity rates from the north and the south. Fish from the south mature at 14 inches and reproduce at around 18 inches while the northern males mature at 22 inches and the females at 24 inches. They are viviparous ( rockfish. One female can produce more than 2 million eggs per season.

Image Caption: Sebastes paucispinis (Bocaccio). Credit: Chad King/Wikipedia