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Hybrid Yellowtail Rockfish

Hybrid Copper/Brown Rockfish

Hybrid Copper/Brown Rockfish

Bottomfish Identification: Rockfish

Rockfish Hybrids

Love et al.  noted that,

“There is evidence that copper rockfish in the Puget Sound may hybridize with brown and quillback rockfishes.  Microsatellite DNA analyses demonstrate that those coppers living in Puget Sound may be isolated from fish living on the outer coast and that there is significant genetic divergence among fish in the northern, central, and southern California.  Mitochondrial DNA research implies that this species is perhaps most closely related to quillback, kelp, gopher, and black and yellow rockfishes.”

In addition to hybridization of copper, brown and quillback rockfishes, other species, such as this Yellowtail hybrid, have been caught in the waters off Washington.  The ability for some rockfish to hybridize can make species identification a challenge.  If the identity of a caught fish cannot be definitively determined it should be released, whether rockfish retention is allow or not.

Photos: S. Axtell and L. Hillier