Ocean Fishes Archives | Oceana

Pacific Herring

The herring’s body is bluish-green on the top of the back, and the stomach and sides are a bright silver. This coloring is known as countershading, and it makes Pacific herring harder to see from above or below. Countershading helps the herring camouflage itself from potential predators, which include larger fish, seabirds, and marine mammals.1 Another … Read more

Sockeye Salmon

Sockeye salmon are native to the western coast of North America and reside in the northern Pacific Ocean.3 They spend most of their life at sea, but during mating season from July to October, they move inland—some populations as far as western Idaho—for spawning.1 Sockeye salmon hatch in lakes, rivers and streams where they spend their … Read more

Green Moray Eel

The green moray eel has one long dorsal fin that extends down the entire length of its body and connects to a second fin, the caudal fin. Their faces have two nostrils, made visible by two small openings. On their upper jaw, moray eels have two full rows of teeth, while on the bottom there … Read more

Great Barracuda

Great barracudas have a large mouth containing two sets of teeth. The outer row of small, razor-sharp teeth are for tearing, and the inner set of larger teeth for piercing. These closely set teeth work in tandem to rip into the flesh of their prey. The long needle-like teeth fit into holes in the opposing … Read more

Pygmy Seahorse

As their name suggests, pygmy seahorses are tiny fish that are nearly indistinguishable from their habitats due to their size and extreme camouflage. They are so well camouflaged that Bargibant’s pygmy seahorse was only discovered after a host gorgonian was collected and observed by marine biologist George Bargibant.1 2 Pygmy seahorses grow to an average size … Read more


Sailfish are a type of billfish (like the blue marlin or swordfish) that are known not only for their pointed bills, but also their extraordinary dorsal fins that can be taller than the length of their bodies.1 Sailfish start out as tiny larvae, no more than a few millimeters in length, but grow rapidly during … Read more


Scorpionfish are bottom-dwelling fish that have also been called rockfish or stonefish because of their tendency to live among rocks near the seafloor. There are more than 200 known species of scorpionfish in the ocean. Members of this fish family are commonly found in the Indian and South Pacific Oceans where water temperatures are temperate … Read more

Tropical Two-wing Flyingfish

Tropical two-wing flyingfish feed on plankton crustaceans and other small invertebrates. They have large eyes and excellent eyesight and can therefore hunt and eat individual plankton. This is in stark contrast to the very large-bodied filter feeders (like the whale shark or basking shark), which blindly filter huge volumes of water in order to obtain sufficient food. Tropical two-wing … Read more

Common Dolphinfish

The common dolphinfish is an open ocean predator that eats small fishes, squids, and pelagic crustaceans. It is also an important prey species for sharks, billfishes, and other large predators. Therefore, much like the skipjack tuna, the common dolphinfish plays a vital intermediate role in open ocean food webs. The males are larger than females and reach lengths of … Read more

Summer Flounder

Like all flatfishes, summer flounder have both of their eyes on the same side of their heads, and they live on the seafloor, lying on their blind side, with their eyes facing the open water column. This species is one of several “sand flounders,” with both eyes on the left side of the head. Amazingly, when they … Read more