Brown to brownish-black on top/eyed side, can have spots to blend in with habitat.
Non-eyed side is usually entirely white, sometimes with some mottling.
They can change skin color patterns to camouflage with the habitat.
Adult: both eyes on the same side of head.
Juveniles: one eye on each side of their head. At around 20-29 days, one eye migrates to the other side of the body so that both eyes are on the same side of the head.
From Quillayute River, Washington to Magdalena Bay, Baja California, Mexico.
Separate population in upper Gulf of California.
Most abundant from central California to Baja California.
Live in nearshore waters, estuaries, and the inner continental shelf.
Most often in 10-100 feet of water, can be found as deep as 600 feet.
Spawning from February-September, with most spawning in May.
Adults come from deeper waters to spawn in 16-60 feet.
Fertilization is external, eggs are deposited on sandy bottom.
Larvae and post-larvae float in water column for several months before settling on bottom.
Visual ambush predators – lie flat and very still, partially buried on the seafloor, and then swim out and attack their swimming prey.
Larval halibut eat plankton.
Adult halibut eat other small fish, like anchovies and sardines.
Bottlenose dolphins, angel sharks, Pacific electric rays, sea lions, and humans fishing for them.
These are not “true” halibuts. They are not in the Hippoglossus genus with the Pacific halibut and Atlantic halibut, the only two true halibuts.
As larval halibuts, they are born with one eye on each side of their head. At around 20-29 days, one eye migrates to the other side of the body so that both eyes are on the same side of the head! Halibut can be right-eyed or left-eyed.
California halibut is one of the most important recreational and commercial species in southern California. Most is consumed here in the US, with very little exported.
Sources: California Department of Fish and Wildlife; California Sea Grant; Aquarium of the Pacific; Ben Frable, Scripps Institution of Oceanography