California Sheephead

California Sheephead

Semicossyphus pulcher

Physical Description

The California Sheephead, reaching lengths up to 91 centimeters, displays sexual dimorphism. Males feature a distinctive white chin, black head, and tail, with a red or pink midsection. Females exhibit a brownish-rose hue throughout their bodies. Both genders possess prominent canines.

Male Sheephead
Male sheepheads feature a black forehead and tail, and large males have a bump on the forehead.


Thriving in the rocky substrate of kelp forests, California Sheepheads prefer the nearshore waters of the eastern Pacific coast.

Geographical Range

From Monterey Bay to the Gulf of California, these fish are rare north of Point Conception.

What They Eat

Feeding on hard-shelled invertebrates, these fish use their powerful jaws to crack open prey, contributing to the balance of their ecosystem.

Other Species