(page 430)


Table of Contents

The rockfishes are perch-like or bass-like in general appearance. But they are related to the sculpins (p. 439) and to the sea robins (p. 467) by having a bony stay (an extension of one of the suborbital bones) stretching across the cheek, giving the latter a characteristic bony appearance. Furthermore their cheeks, are spiny, and in most of the species the top of the head is marked by ridges that terminate in spines. Both the spiny portion and the soft portion of the dorsal are well developed, either as a continuous fin or subdivided by a deep notch. The ventral fins are on the chest ("thoracic"). In most of the rockfishes (including the rosefish) the eggs are retained within the mother until they batch. There are many species, the temperate Pacific being especially rich in them. Only one, however, occurs regularly in the Gulf of Maine, though the range of another includes its offshore rim.

Key to Gulf of Maine Rockfishes
1. The lower rays of the pectoral fins, like the upper rays, are connected nearly to their tips by the fin membrane: There are 14 or 15 dorsal fin spines Rosefish, p. 430
The lower 7-9 pectoral fin rays are free for the outer half of their length; there are only 12 dorsal fin spines Black-bellied rosefish, p. 437