A Redtail Surfperch Photo Shoot

Back in mid October I spent part of a day trying to get some new shots of one of my favorite surf zone fishes, the redtail surfperch, Amphistichus rhodoterus. I didn’t get a lot of redtail participation, and as I explain below, I didn’t spend much time with those that did. My photo shoot wasn’t a…

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Surfperch Camouflage Meets its Match with Terns

The first thing I thought about when I cam across Dave Morro Bay Keeling’s photo of an elegant tern with its catch was visual predation in the surf zone. On my home beaches, I frequently see terns, during the warmer months, mostly Caspians, cruising the surf zone. Occasionally one feints as though it’s seen something…

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Close Quarters: Redtail and Silver Surfperch Share the Surf

Redtail surfperch, Amphistichus rhodoterus, and silver surfperch, Hyperprosopon ellipticum, can be found year round on almost any exposed sandy beach between from the Long Beach Penninnsula, Washington to Point Reyes, California USA.   In the surf-swept intertidal of this region, they are the most common members of the Amphistichinae, a six-species clade of surfperches in the…

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Surfperches Share Sandy Shores

Below are images of sandy beaches more or less occupied by the surfperches, Amphistichus rhodoterus and Hyperproson ellipticum, year around.  All of the photos were taken at low tide and the views are to the north.  Do you notice any differences?  Do you think a surfperch could? Here on theoutershores, we’re always thinking about how…

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Sampling Surfperch on the Incoming Tide

I’m always getting asked how several species of closely related small silvery surfperch can share sandy beaches without tripping over each other.  How do they partition the surf zone?  Do they eat different prey, avoid each other?  Maybe they find other ways to coexist.  Our fascination with coexistence is well-founded; it explains why there are…

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To Bite, or Not to Bite

That’s an age old dilemma.  I put surfperch to the test last year with a preference experiment.  I presented colored lures to surfperch in the wild.  If surfperch bite each color equally then there is no preference.  If there is a preference, color matters and we get some insights about the visual ecology of surfperch…

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Fins on Fire

Surfperch live on sandy beaches which can be vast, uniformly colored and featureless. It’s a drab place. Sometimes the beaches are broken up by rock features but true sand-dwellers eschew the rocks. In the photo above, my pack is sitting where surfperch will be feeding in a few hours. Surf zone prey frequently camouflage themselves…

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And the King of the Surf is…

…the redtail surfperch, Amphistichus rhodoterus. Redtails rule theoutershores beaches. See Let’s Check Out Another Surfperch for an introduction to the redtail surfperch. They’re bigger and badder than the other common fishes they share the surf zone with and they may be more abundant too. I’m interested in the makeup of the community of fishes that reside in the…

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Choices, Choices…Everywhere

  In celebration of my first twenty theoutershores posts, I made this fishy Word Cloud from tagxedo.com. The size of words is an index of how frequently they are used in my posts. Surfperch is the biggest word; that’s no surprise. Another relatively big word is color. I think about color a lot. Evolutionary biologists…

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The Color of the Caudal

Ichthyologists call the tail fin of fishes the caudal fin. A few years ago I noticed some interesting things about the color of the caudal fin in the surfperch I encountered on the outer shores. These observations invigorated my interest in surfperch ecology and evolution and they still help shape my thinking whenever I’m out…

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