Saturday, August 25, 2012


Scopaenichthys marmoratus
The Cabezon is a fish whose name means "Big Head," and their genus actually translates to "Scorpion Fish," though it is interesting to note that they are not actually true Scorpion Fish. Those animals belong to a completely different family.

Cabezon can be found in the shallow, rocky, kelp-bed waters off of the Pacific Coast of North America, running all the way from Baja to southern Alaska. They can grow to pretty substantial sizes, with the largest ever caught growing just short of a meter. Size actually determines their sexual maturity-- males are mature at 13.5in, while females are at 17.5in. A small female can lay over 50,000 eggs in a breeding season, and the males will actually guard those eggs until they hatch!

You can identify a Cabezon by their mottled red, green, and brown bodies. Most reddish fish are male, and most greenish fish are female. As the name suggests, they have large heads relative to the rest of their body, and sport 11 spines on their dorsal fins. They also have no scales! Crabs make up about half of the Cabezon diet, with Fish and Mollusks filling in the other half.

Cabezon are often taken as game fish in California. They are said to have an excellent taste (especially when compared to how ugly they are!) However, do not eat the eggs! Cabezon roe is poisonous.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Pacific Coast of North America
Size :  Length up to 40in (1m), Weight up to 25lbs (11kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Actinopterygii -- Order : Scorpaeniformes
Family : Cottidae -- Genus : Scorpaenichthys -- Species : S. marmoratus

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