Pink Seaperch

Pink Seaperch, Zalembius rosaceus

The Pink Seapeach, Zalembius rosaceus, whose common Spanish name is mojarra rosada, is a member of the Surfperch or Embiotocidae Family, known collective as mojarras viviparas in Mexico. There is only one global member of the Zalembius Genus, this species which is found only in Mexican waters of the Pacific.

The Pink Seaperch has a highly compressed elongated oval body that is 37-41% of standard length. They are s pinkish red fish that transitions to white around the head and ventrally that have a pair of dark spots under the center and rear of the dorsal fin and a dark bar at the base of the caudal fin. The dorsal and ventral profiles are gently convex. The head is small with a bluntly conical pointed snout with the mouth opening at the front which has jaws of equal size that do not reach the eyes and disproportionately large horizontal eyes. The anal fin has a short base with three spines, the third of which is the longest, and 20 rays with an “S” shaped margin, the caudal fin is forked with a short narrowing and tapering base with the top lobe longer, and the dorsal fin is singular and continuous with a long base that has 10 spines and 18 soft rays with the middle spines being longer than the soft rays. Males have extended anal and caudal fin rays. The pelvic fins are inserted behind the pectoral fins. The lateral line is high on the body and complete; the body is covered with smooth scales.

The Pink Seaperch are typically inhabitants of rocky reefs and open trawl grounds. They are a rare poorly study demersal species with limited information available about their behavioral patterns. The juveniles are found in the surf zone but the adults move offshore, being found at depths up to 900 feet, which is much deeper water than the other surfperches. Reproduction is viviparous with the Pink Seaperch being of scientific interest because of the timing of the various events of its annual reproductive cycle. The dietary habits of the Pink Seaperch have not been studied. Mating occurs in the spring with gestation periods of five to seven months with each female producing 2 to 6 fry that were 3.4 cm (1.4 inches) in length with the young being born in the winter. They reach a maximum length of 20 cm (8.1 inches). In Mexican waters they have a limited distribution being found only from Guerrero Negro north along the central and northwest coasts of Baja with a very small population in the Sea of Cortez in the greater Santa Rosalia area.

The Pink Seaperch is a straightforward identification due to the body profile and coloration and they are not easily confused with any other species.

The Pink Seaperch are exceedingly rare and small in stature and seldom seen by humans therefore they are of limited interest to most. They are caught on a limited basis as a bi-catch of deep water trawlers.

Pink Seaperch (1)

Pink Seaperch, Zalembius rosaceus: An exceedingly rare catch caught in the channel between Isla Danzante and Punta Coyote, Baja California, in 525-foot water, October 2007. Length: 15 cm (5.9 inches). Photo courtesy of Brad Erisman, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA.
Pink Seaperch, Zalembius rosaceus: An exceedingly rare catch caught in the channel between Isla Danzante and Punta Coyote, Baja California, in 525-foot water, October 2007. Length: 15 cm (5.9 inches). Photo courtesy of Brad Erisman, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA.