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Male Sheephead in Giant Kelp Forest_close

Male Sheephead in Giant Kelp Forest_close

Male California Sheephead are black with an orange midsection and white chin. They have red eyes and a prominent, bulbous forehead. Often feed on hard-shelled organisms such as sea urchins, mollusks, lobsters and crabs. Although the average lifespan of California Sheephead is unknown, they can live up to 53 years in the wild. However, few animals attain this age, or even reproductive maturity at 4 years, due to commercial and recreational fishing practises.


  • Extinction Risk: Vulnerable (Facing a high risk of extinction in the wild)
  • Scientific Name: Semicossyphus pulcher


Southern California’s incredible Giant Kelp Forests are home to a rich array of marine life. These towering seaweeds provide structure, food, and hiding places for more than 1,000 species of plants and animals. Known for its size, it can reach over 200 feet in length and grow as fast as 1.5 feet per day. Giant kelp is able to grow vertically due to gas-filled bladders known as pneumatocysts, which keep the upper portions of the algae afloat. 


  • Scientific Name: Macrocystis pyrifera