Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Dragon Sensory Hours: The dragons will be asleep from 2 to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Quillback Rockfish

Sebastes maliger

Quillback rockfish are brown with yellow/orange mottling and prominent dorsal spines. They can grow to a length of 24 inches and weigh more than 7 pounds.

Range & Habitat

The Quillback rockfish ranges from the Alaskan Kenai Peninsula to southern California in the Anacapa Passage. They are bottom-dwellers and live in rocky reef areas where there is an abundance of flat-bladed kelp.

Conservation Status: Not Evaluated

They are not endangered, but are vulnerable to climate change and overfishing. They are included in the federal Pacific Coast Ground fish Fishery Management Plan. The state of Washington has identified them as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) in their wildlife action plan (SWAP) and as a Priority Species in their Priority Habitat and Species Program


Smaller fish, crabs, shrimp, amphipods and krill.

Life Span

Up to 95 years!

Fun Facts about the Quillback Rockfish

      Quillback rockfish have internal fertilization. The embryos develop inside the mother and she gives birth to live young.

      The dorsal fin and spines are a distinctive feature of this fish. The spines are deeply incised and are white or light yellow but can have dark brown or black saddles on them. 

      Quillbacks have also been transported outside of their home range and were found to return to that same location, demonstrating site fidelity.


Ocean Coast Aquarium. (2021). Quillback Rockfish. Accessed March 21, 2021 at

Oregon Conservation Strategy. (2021). Quillback Rockfish. Accessed March 21, 2021 at

Washington Department of Wildlife. (2021). Quillback rockfish (Sebastes malinger). Accessed March 21, 2021 at



Updated June 13, 2023
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