About This Fish

Ocean Whitefish

The Ocean Whitefish (Caulolatilus princeps) is a ray finned fish which belongs to the family Malacanthidae under Order Perciformes of Class Actinopterygii. It is also known as tilefish, banquilo and pez blanco. It is found in Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada to Peru, including the Galapagos Islands and north of central California, USA. It is a solitary fish which inhabits at depths of up to 450 feet in the water column over rocky bottoms, soft sand and mud bottoms. It is frequently found in association with members of the rockfish, Scorpaenids and California sheephead.

The ocean whitefish is a robust fish with a characteristic pre-dorsal ridge. Body is elongated and moderately deep with overall light blue-grey in color. Body is covered with small scales and it has a relatively small mouth with thick fleshy lips. Dorsal fin is very long with 9 spines and 24-25 soft rays. Anal fin is also long which contains 2 spines and 23 soft rays. The anal and dorsal fins have a yellow line and white line at their margins respectively while the pectoral fin is long and pointed with blue and yellow streak near the center. The caudal fin is yellow and concave. A dark brown stripe is present below and in front of the eye. It mainly feeds on worms, shrimps, crab, octopus, squid and small fishes especially anchovy and lanternfish. It is preyed upon by albacore, giant sea bass, sharks and other large fishes. Male reaches sexual maturity at the age of 3-4 years and 40-48 cm in length while female with 4-5 years and 48-55 cm in length. It spawns during the period between early spring and fall. It grows up to 102 cm in length and 5.8 kg in weight. It can live up to 13 years.

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