22 West Coast Species of Surfperches • Status from 1920s to 2003 • CAWildlife.gov

PDF: 2003 Report on Status of 18  Local Species of CA Surfperches

whereas the drop in landings from 1983 to 2001 appears to be due to declines in surfperch populations.

Overview of the Fishery


The 22 species in the surfperch family, Embiotocidae, are commonly called surfperch, seaperch and perch. They are found predominantly in temperate, northeastern Pacific waters; however, three species are found in the Sea of Japan and one species (tule perch, Hysterocarpus traski) occupies freshwater and estuarine habitats in California.

Eighteen species occur in California’s coastal waters:

  1. barred surfperch Amphistichus argenteus
  2. black perch Embiotoca jacksoni
  3. calico surfperch Amphistichus koelzi
  4. dwarf perch Micrometrus minimus
  5. kelp perch Brachyistius frenatus
  6. pile perch Rhacochilus vacca
  7. pink seaperch Zalembius rosaceus
  8. rainbow seaperch Hypsurus caryi
  9. redtail surfperch Amphistichus rhodoterus
  10. reef perch Micrometrus aurora
  11. rubberlip seaperch Rhacochilus toxotes
  12. sharpnose seaperch Phanerodon atripes
  13. shiner perch Cymatogaster aggregate
  14. silver surfperch Hyperprosopon ellipticum
  15. spotfin surfperch Hyperprosopon anale
  16. striped seaperch Embiotoca lateralis
  17. walleye surfperch Hyperprosopon argenteum
  18. white seaperch Phanerodon furcataus

  • one Estuary|Freshwater CA perch
  • 3 from Sea of Japan
  • 3 from Sea of Japan
  • 3 from Sea of Japan

The island surfperch, Cymatogaster gracilis, was once thought to be a separate species, however it is now considered synonymous with shiner perch.

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Traditional Classification vs Phylogenetic (using Fish as an Example)

Traditional classification

Traditional spindle diagram of the evolution of the vertebrates at CLASS level

Conventional classification has living vertebrates grouped into seven CLASSES based on traditional interpretations of gross anatomical and physiological traits. This classification is the one most commonly encountered in school textbooks, overviews, non-specialist, and popular works. The extant vertebrates are:

  • Subphylum Vertebrata: 7 Classes (often taught as 5 Vertebrate Classes, by collapsing the 3 fish classes into one)

In addition to these, there are two classes of extinct armoured fishes, the Placodermi and the Acanthodii, both of which are considered paraphyletic.

Add Info on Phylogenetic (using Fish as an Example)