Red Abalone

Haliotis rufescens





Haliotis rufescens (red abalone) are the largest species of abalone growing up to 31.5 cm across (2). Their outer shells are brick-red to pink with several holes used for respiration (1). They are not commonly found in the intertidal instead more commonly found deeper attached to hard substrates (1). H. rufescens are herbivores, preferentially feeding on Macrocystis pyrifera (3). Due to their large size H. rufescens are heavily fished. This can be very damaging to H. rufescens populations as they are especially slow growing, taking 12 to 14 years to reach 17.5 cm (2). Because fecundity is tied to individual size, the removal of large individuals also directly affects H. rufescens population by reducing total young (2).


(1) Gotshall, D. W. (2005). Guide to marine invertebrates: Alaska to Baja California. Monterey, CA: Sea Challengers.

(2) Haliotis rufescens (Red Abalone). UC Santa Cruz.

(3) Venegas, A. G., Cárdenas, T. C., Aguilar, R. F., Bernal, R. S., & Ferreira, F. H. (2016). Effects of Diet and Feeding Regime on Growth and Survival of the Red Abalone Haliotis rufescens in Land-Based Tank Cultures in Southern Chile. Journal of Shellfish Research, 35(4), 969-979.

(Photograph) (c) Brenna Green, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)


  • rocky intertidal