Tiger Rockfish -  Sebastes nigrocinctus

View all Tiger Rockfish Images in the Pacific Marine Index

Tiger Rockfish (Sebastes nigrocinctus,) are one of the most strikingly coloured and beautiful rockfish found in the Pacific Northwest. These rockfish are striped similarly to a tiger, featuring shades of pink, grey or rose, with five black or red bars radiating backwards from the eyes. Tiger Rockfish possess bony ridges on the head that distinguish them from other species of rockfish. In younger individuals, tips of the ventral and anal fins are darkened. These rockfish can reach lengths of 24 inches (35 cm) and can live well past 100 years of age.

Tiger Rockfish inhabit shallow waters but can be found as deep as 1000 ft. (300 m.) They have an extensive range from Baja California all the way north to Alaska. Their habitat varies from shallow rocky reefs to steep current swept walls. Tigers are commonly found hiding in caves, under rocks or peering out from a crevasse in a wall. Juveniles of the species are pelagic, while adults are semi-demersal to demersal meaning they tend to live near or on the sea floor.

Tiger rockfish are solitary, sometimes territorial, and are known to prey upon shrimp, crabs (particularly rock crabs), amphipods and small fishes like herring and juvenile rockfish. This species is a generalized feeder that depends on currents to bringing food items near its home territory.

Photographing Tiger Rockfish is always a challenging but rewarding experience. Capturing an image of one of these magnificent fish composed on a colourful background should be the goal of any underwater photographer. Tiger Rockfish tend to be shy and reclusive and will dart in a hole in the reef or into a cave to avoid any type of interaction with a diver; on rare occasions you may find one out in the open and easy get an image of it. Because these fish are solitary, having another diver try and herd the fish towards the camera is quite difficult, the best course of action to be very patient and try and wait for the fish to come out of its hiding spot. Some of the best places to photograph these fish is around Quadra Island and Port Hardy.