Physical Description

  • A flattened, oval-shaped body and one continuous dorsal (back) fin.
  • Olive green to yellow-green body, with a silver belly.
  • Yellow or bronze barred (vertically striped) sides, or no bars at all.
  • No red in tail, unlike many surfperches.
  • Up to 17 inches long.


  • Bodega Bay, California to Plaza Maria Bay, Baja California, Mexico.


  • Usually live in the waves or just beyond the waves (hence the name surfperch).
  • Found at depths of 0-240 feet.
  • May live in kelp forests.


  • They are mature at about 1-2 years old or 6.5 inches long.
  • The female gives birth from March to July.
  • Surfperches give birth to live young. They normally give birth to 33 live young, but can give birth to 113 at a time! 


  • Sand crabs, bean clams, and other crustaceans.


  • Seals, larger fishes.

Interesting Facts

  • They are also called the California perch.
  • Tagging information has helped scientists learn that surfperch move very little, often only about 2 miles in their lifetime! 

Sources: Wildcoast; California Department of Fish and Game; California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Photo: Ron DeCloux