Scorpaenichthys Marmoratus

Cottidae

Scorpaeniformes

Kelp Forests

25 - 31 pounds

10" - 39"

Cabezon

Also Known As: Sculpin, Mother-in-Law Fish

Cabezon (Scorpaenichthys marmoratus) Fish Description

Also known as sculpin, and ‘mother-in-law fish’ because of its loud mouth and constant croaking, the Cabezon is a large, smooth and scaleless fish that is the only species under its genus. 

Cabezons have broad bony support extending from the eye across the cheek just underneath their skin; they also have a stout spine just before their eyes. They have 11 spines on their dorsal fins. Their anal fins have soft rays. Their mouths are wide and contain several small teeth. They have a pair of flaps behind their eyes. Usually, their color varies from brown to green and red. They have several dark mottling that helps them camouflage.

 

Diet and Size

Cabezons love fish, fish eggs, crustaceans, and mollusks. They also enjoy abalone, prawns, and squid, crabs, and octopus.

Cabezons can grow up to 3 feet and 3 in and weigh up to 31 pounds. Female Cabezons tend to be larger than male Cabezons of the same age.

 

Interesting Facts About the Cabezon

  • More than 90% of the green Cabezon fish are female, while more than 90% of the red Cabezon are males.
  • The flesh and internal organs of the Cabezon are blue in color. Once cooked, its flesh turns white.
  • Its name is derived from the Spanish language meaning ‘large head’ or ‘stubborn’. The Cabezon’s head is relatively larger than its body is its primary identifying feature.
  • Because Cabezons don’t have swim bladders, they do not suffer from barotrauma like other bottom-dwelling fishes.
  • Cabezons are ambush predators; they can remain almost motionless while patiently waiting for their prey. Then, they devour their prey using their very large mouths. Still, they fall prey to other larger fishes.
  • Eating Cabezon fish roe can lead to gastrointestinal toxicity.