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Bottomfish Identification: Surfperch

Striped Surfperch
Embiotoca lateralis

Commonly caught by recreational harvesters within Puget Sound and in embayments along the outer coast.

Description: The body of the striped surfperch is a deep oval shape and is compressed from side to side.    It has a copper background color with approximately 15 bright blue and orange horizontal stripes below the high-arching lateral line.  The head of the striped surfperch has a series of blue spots and stripes.  The fins are coppery and there are dark areas on the anterior part of most fins.  This species has 10-11 dorsal spines and 23-25 dorsal soft rays.  The upper jaw extends beyond the lower and the maxilla is exposed.

Maximum Size: To 38 cm (15 in) in length.

Maximum Age: 10 years old.

Range/Habitat: Striped surfperch range from Wrangell, southeastern Alaska to Point Cabras, Baja California, Mexico.  They occur in waters up to 21 m (69 ft) deep along rocky coasts, in kelp beds, and occasionally in sandy surf near rocks.


  • Eschmeyer, W.N., E.S. Herald and H. Hammann, 1983. A field guide to Pacific coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, U.S.A. 336 p.

Photos: Robertson, D Ross and Steve Lonhart