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California Sheephead Video Stock Footage

Male and female California sheepsheads have different color patterns and body shapes. Males are larger, with black tail and head sections, wide, reddish orange midriffs, red eyes, and fleshy forehead bumps. Female sheephead are dull pink with white undersides. Both sexes have white chins and large, protruding canine teeth that can pry hard-shelled animals from rocks or inflict nasty puncture wounds on skin divers. After powerful jaws and sharp teeth crush the prey, modified throat bones (a throat plate) grind the shells into small pieces. California sheephead can reach a size of 91 cm (3 ft) and a weight of 16 kg (35 lb). All sheepheads are born as females and eventually change to males at roughly 45 cm (1.5 ft). The age of the transition depends on environmental factors such as food supply. When supplied with a large amount of food, the California sheephead can live for up to 21 years. If food is scarce, they can live up to 9 years. All California sheephead are born female and morph into their male form at various stages in their lifecycle, determined by environmental conditions and pressures. Because of this, they are considered to be protogynous hermaphrodites which have planktonic larvae. Their coral and kelp-heavy habitat provides protection from predators, which is important as this species is diurnal, foraging during the day and seeking shelter at night.

Learn more about California Sheephead

Animalia: Chordata: Perciformes: Actinopterygii: Labridae: Semicossyphus pulcher

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