Physical Description

  • Fish with oval-shaped body..
  • Gray, silver, greenish coloration on back, whitish coloration below.
  • Dark vertical stripes (usually 10) on sides, where common name comes from.
  • Their body is covered in small scales, but their head has no scales.
  • They have one bright blue spot on gill cover.
  • Juveniles have less distinct bars than adults.


  • Klamath River Estuary, Oregon to Baja California, Mexico.
  • Gulf of California, Mexico.
  • Rare north of southern California.


  • Live in shallow inshore areas.
  • Live in coastal rocky reefs and reef flats with algae growth.
  • Can be found from 0 to 26 feet depth.


  • They reproduce by broadcast spawning.
  • Their larvae live in the plankton.


  • Exclusively herbivorous diets.
  • Algae, red algae most common food.


  • Known to be poor eating and rarely found in predatory fish stomachs.

Interesting Facts

  • Though referred to as a zebra perch, they are actually a member of the sea chub family of fish.
  • They are not to be confused with a “true” perch called the zebra perch that is a freshwater fish.
  • They are often found in small schools, mixed with opaleye and halfmoon.

Sources: Fishbase; Project Noah;;; BioGeoDatabase

Photo: Weiwei Gao