rockfish, member of the large family Scorpaenidae (rockfishes and scorpionfishes), carnivorous fish inhabiting all seas and especially abundant in the temperate waters of the Pacific. Rockfishes are found among rocks and reefs. Of commercial importance are the black and orange rockfishes and the bocaccio of the Pacific coast and the rosefish (called also red, or ocean, perch and the John Dory) of the Atlantic. In the West Indies are found the lion-fishes and the scorpionfishes, the latter vividly marked in red, blue, and green and equipped with poisonous dorsal fin spines, which have venom glands in their grooves. The name rockfish is also applied to various other fishes that frequent rocky places. The unrelated striped bass is sometimes called rockfish. Rockfishes and scorpionfishes are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Osteichthyes, order Perciformes, family Scorpaenidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.