© Joseph Dougherty. All rights reserved.
Muricea californica Aurivillius, 1931
California Golden Gorgonian
Semicossyphus pulcher (Ayres, 1854)
The sheephead can reach a size of 91 cm and a weight of 16 kg. The male is black with a white jaw and a broad red band spanning the body sometimes. The female is pink. The juvenile form is bright red with a white stripe spanning the body and a black spot on its tail. All sheepheads are born as females and eventually change to males at roughly 45 centimeters. The age of the transition depends on environmental factors such as food supply.
kelp forestgiant kelpmacrocystiscalifornia underwaterChannel Islands National Park and Marine Sanctuarymarine sanctuariesmarine parkChannel IslandsCatalinacatalina islandrocky reefsmarine fishLabridaesheepsheadcalifornia sheepsheadsheepheadSemicossyphus pulcherSemicossyphusMuricea californicaCalifornia Golden Gorgoniangorgonianssoft coralsseafanssea fans
From Catalina Island -- Peace Dive Boat -- June 2013