Salema, Haemulon califoreniensis
The Salema, Haemulon californiensis, whose common Spanish name is Salema is a member of the Grunt or Haemulidae Family, known collectively as “burros” in Mexico.
The Salema has an elongated thin body profile with a width that is 29-31% of length. They have an overall silvery appearance with six to eight (which increase in number with maturity) orange-brown stripes on the upper two-thirds of the body. They have large eyes, and an oblique mouth with a projecting lower jaw. The spine base of the dorsal fin is longer than the base of the rayous part, a key to identification. They have a lateral line that follows one of the stripes, short pectoral fins and a forked caudal fin. There is a black spot at the base of the caudal fin.
The Salema is an inshore schooling species found near reef or high in a kelp forest at depths up to 110 feet and are up to 30.3 cm (11.8 inches) in length weighing less than 1 kg (2.2 pounds). They feed at night on plankton. Very little is known about their behavioral patterns.
The Salema can be easily confused with the Longfin Salema, Xenichythys xanti (spinous part of dorsal fin is shorter than base of rayous part; black spot at tail base), the Wavyline Grunt, Microlepidotus inornatus (narrow orange stripes that cover the complete body), and the Yelloweye Croaker, Odontoscion xanthops (rounded tail). The Salema is found in all Mexican waters of the Pacific.
The Salema is too small of interest to most but is consumed by subsistence fishermen on a limited basis.