Striped Kelpfish

Gibbonsia metzi





The striped kelpfish is geographically distributed in lower intertidal zones along the eastern Pacific from British Columbia to Baja California Sur, feeding on marine invertebrates of the benthic epifauna (2). This species is of a variable red or brown color with dark striations along length of the body bearing 34-37 dorsal spines at maturity (1). Species distribution and genetic differences of the Gibbonsia genus intertidal fish is influenced by their seasonal adaptability to hot and cold water temperatures (3). The distribution patterns of these morphologically similar species: G. elegans, G. metzi, and G. montereyensis, suggests that a wider distribution reflects a greater ability to extreme temperature adaptations (3). The Gibbonsia metzi species has the widest distribution of the three total species and also has the greatest cold-temperature adaptation ability (3).


  1. Hart, J.L., 1973. Pacific fishes of Canada. Bull. Fish. Res. Board Can. 180:740.
  2. Eschmeyer, W.N., E.S. Herald and H. Hammann, 1983. A field guide to Pacific coast fishes of North America. Boston (MA, USA): Houghton Mifflin Company.
  3. Davis, B. J. (1977). Distribution and temperature adaptation in the teleost fish genus Gibbonsia. Marine biology, 42(4), 315-320.


(Photograph) Morgan Stickrod.