Pacific Mutton Hamlet, Alphestes immaculatus: The Pacific Mutton Hamlet is characterized by its rusty brown appearance and red eye with darker brown blotches forming irregular bars on its side.
It also has numerous pale and dark brown spots. In general this is not a difficult species to identify, with the exception of the Rivulated Mutton Hamlet, Alphestes multiguttatusunless, or unless it shows up in its red costume as pictured below.
It can be distinguished from the Rivulated Mutton Hamlet by its broken brown spots along its sides which ten to coalesce to form interrupted stripes (versus a smaller species with five or six additional regularly aligned transverse bars on the pectoral fins).
The Pacific Mutton Hamlet reaches a length of 30 centimeters and about 1 pound in weight and is found in the first 100 feet of the water column. It is a nocturnal predator feeding primarily on benthic crustaceans.
In Mexican fishing waters , the Pacific Mutton Hamlet is not found along the Pacific side of the Baja California peninsula, but is found in all waters of the Sea of Cortez south of Santa Rosalia and on mainland Mexico south of Guaymas.
The Pacific Mutton Hamlet is usually too small to fillet.
This fish species is a member of the Serrandae or Sea Bass and Grouper Family.