This week, I found back the same Tiger Rockfish in the same spot after eight years.
Yes, on top of cataloguing Humpback Whales, I catalogue Tiger Rockfish. I can’t stop myself.
There’s so much that may be learned when you can recognize animals as individuals. There is more conservation value too when people realize that even individual fish have homes.
The markings in this species of rockfish are so distinct that it is easy to recognize them as individuals IF they are not tucked away deep in a crack which is often their way. See below to compare the markings of this mature female to two other individuals for whom I also have repeat sightings at this location. I will clearly have to hand off this cataloguing to a younger biologist since these fish are likely to outlive me. They are known to be able to live to age 116.
I was already very excited when I found back this individual after 6 years. Now I can show that this fish was documented in the exact same location after least 8 years. This shows how strong the site fidelity is and why Rockfish Conservation Areas can have such success. Please read more on Rockfish Conservation Areas, barotrauma and rockfish reproduction in my previous blog at this link.
Tiger Rockfish = Sebastes nigrocinctus to 61 cm (35 cm by 17 years of age).
Below, pages from my Tiger Rockfish ID catalogue for this site.
The fish above is “Tiger Rockfish 1”. Note how distinct the markings are and how easy it is to recognize these individuals. I will end up nicknaming these fish for distinctive features as we do with the Humpback Whales. Suggestions are very welcome but for DISTINCTIVE features i.e. not names like “Stripy. 😉 Update: Tiger Rockfish #1 is now “Papillon” for the bowtie like marking on the right side of her head.