juv rockfish ID

Fish & Invertebrate sightings and descriptions, hosted by resident NWDC ID expert Janna Nichols (nwscubamom).
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Scott G
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juv rockfish ID

Post by Scott G » Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:08 pm

Saw this guy last weekend. I am thinking it is a black and yellow. It was "black and yellow" . there are juv gophers and coppers and quills in the area, but this lacked the colors of those. its A little out of range (southern oregon), but i've seen adult black and yellows here for sure.

sound right? other thoughts?

thanks in advance,
Scott
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sitkadiver
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Re: juv rockfish ID

Post by sitkadiver » Fri Dec 10, 2010 12:07 am

Could it be a China Rock fish, doesn't seem "splotchy" enough, but I can't think of anything that bright a yellow....

Good Luck
China 2.jpg
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Scott G
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Re: juv rockfish ID

Post by Scott G » Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:34 am

yeah, that's initially what i thought when i caught my eye (because i see juv china there from time to time), but then like you said, not splotchy, even the juv's are pretty splotchy. also lines different and fins.

Thanks,
Scott

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whatevah
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Re: juv rockfish ID

Post by whatevah » Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:05 am

It looks like a Black and Yellow to me too.
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nwscubamom
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Re: juv rockfish ID

Post by nwscubamom » Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:01 pm

Hmmm, that's a toughie. For comparison, here's a juvie China:
Image

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Scott G
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Re: juv rockfish ID

Post by Scott G » Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:39 pm

Hey Janna,

this fish is getting kind of confusing to me. looked at the Milton Love book today, and am going more towards it definitely being a black and yellow. It is not a china, and i don't think yours is either. Juv china's are speckled and pelvic/ pectoral fins are black. I've seen many of them and neither of ours look like them to me.

So i would guess your fish is well out of Black and yellow range, might it be a copper? there is alot of color in that fish.

so confusing... why can't everything have a rostrum or spine counts that don't change :)

any further insights would be appreciated.

Thanks again,
Scott

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nwscubamom
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Re: juv rockfish ID

Post by nwscubamom » Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:45 pm

As far as YOYs go, I tend to go more with what the local experts say. It seems every time I send one of my YOY pics to an expert out of our area, they ID it as some obscure species that doesn't even live here. Especially with YOYs, I can send a pic off to several different experts (Milton Love, Andy Lamb, Tom Laidig, Jeff Christiansen, Jeff Marliave, Wayne Palsson) and get several different IDs.

This one was really odd to me, until this past year, others started seeing them in the same area I had, which is very much populated by Chinas. They were, in fact, ID's by our local experts (the biologists at the Seattle aquarium who dive the same places we do, and get the YOYS and are able to see what they grow up to become) - and THEY IDd this one as a China. Before that I wasn't sure what it was. And have seen oodles of YOY Coppers, and this was not it.

So, it appears the YOY China does not look exactly like the adult - the colors are quite different, and it lacks the speckling.

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nwscubamom
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Re: juv rockfish ID

Post by nwscubamom » Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:51 pm

Here is another pic, taken by Rhoda Green, that was also IDd as a YOY China (and found in a location Chinas reside in).

China-Rockfish-jv3.jpg
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Scott G
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Re: juv rockfish ID

Post by Scott G » Tue Dec 14, 2010 12:07 am

Hmmm.... well, maybe there is no answer for this one.

It seems as though the China ID hinges closely (if not used diagnostically) on two things 1) black pelvic/ pectorals and 2) speckling. both our fish lack these two traits.

also, do they grow into their "shouldery" shape (i.e. china, gopher, grass rockfish)... both these fish look sleek compared to the shape of china's.

was there consensus on this ID? i wonder what charecters they used?

....i need to pin down some YOY china's to get a photo, they are good at jumping into crevices... I looked for photos on the web and found nothing. got any other shots?

I have some other books i can get to. an interesting puzzle.

Thanks again,
Scott

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nwscubamom
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Re: juv rockfish ID

Post by nwscubamom » Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:22 am

Scott, you know what? I just went back through my old emails to refresh my memory, and there was NOT consensus on the ID of this fish. I see that I was going off what our local Seattle Aquarium biologist (who has collected them and seen them grow up) said - I figured he'd know best.
"8 is a YOY china! a great find. They can even be more yellow in color but this one is pretty much the normal YOY china color."
(referring to the YOY pics I have here: http://pnwscuba.smugmug.com/Fish/YOY/93 ... 9774_WbpWM)

Here's what others said when shown the photo that I posted above, that Rhoda Green took (she sent them several shots, and it was a group discussion that went round and round):

Milton Love: Regarding [the possible] China Rockfish - our resident juvenile rockfish person, Mary Nishimoto, is relatively sure that is a juvenile black and yellow, Sebastes chrysomelas. She points out that copper juveniles have a clear lateral line by the tail and that this one does not. She also mentioned that black and yellows when small tend to have that vibrant orangy coloration. (She notes that there is a vague possibility it is a gopher rockfish, Sebastes carnatus). I realize that this species has not been officially reported from your area, the most northerly official sighting is Cape Blanco, Oregon. However, it would not surprise me to find one up your way. For instance, I saw what was surely this species in the aquarium that used to be in the lobby of the Auke Bay National Marine Fisheries Service building - that individual had been caught along the southeast Alaska coast.

Jeff Christiansen (Seattle Aquarium): We were successful in collecting juvenile YOY china rockfish this year in the Neah Bay area. if you would like to come by to get some photos you are more than welcome. (he then later IDd my photo as a China)

Wayne Palsson (WDFW biologist): I don’t agree with the China rockfish id. I think it’s a young copper rockfish. Young coppers look much more mottled than adults and the dark blotches take time to color up. The colors are wrong for chinas in the photos, and I see a band separating the lateral line stripe from the dorsal stripe to the base of the first dorsal which makes it more like a copper. Coppers have the yellow head band though it appears more pronounced on this juvenile. Chinas should be much darker and their head band not as obvious on the dorsal surface.

Andy Lamb: As far as the great China debate, with all deference to others I have a different take on this one. I think the photograph is definitely a small juvenile China as I have see numerous similar looking specimens in B.C. Years ago, while an aquarist at the Vancouver Aquarium, our team collected a number of similar looking specimens between one and two inches long and were able to rear them through to the adult typical stage. As this rearing progressed, these specimens passed from this primarily yellowish/orange with some dark markings through to the recognizable mainly black with some lemon yellow markings shown by typical adults. ... I am not on a first name basis with black-and-yellow rockfish -- only from photos. However, the distribution factor would seem to be more in favour of the China theory.

OK, so there you have the debate details!

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Scott G
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Re: juv rockfish ID

Post by Scott G » Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:41 am

Hey Janna,

Thanks again for all the help.

Its strange that there would be so much disagreement...I guess for practical purposes it is not that important to ID YOY rockfish, particularly if it is this impractical to do accurately.

It seems like a better guide would help, but also appears there would have to be a guide for each area :).

I like the experience that the aquarists and former aquarists drew from for an ID, it makes the China ID believable, but it draws into question how anyone could accurately describe a YOY china enough for an good ID (i.e. diagnostic charecters ignored).

tricky one eh?

Thanks a bunch,
Scott

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Re: juv rockfish ID

Post by Biodiversity_Guy » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:31 pm

Fun discussion. At one level it is nice to know "we" don't know everything yet-- always opportunities to learn more. Mysteries of the deep!

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