Aquarium Inhabitant Bio

Girella nigricans


A common reef-dwelling fish with, you guessed it, an opal colored eye. Opaleye have a uniform olive colored body with a set of white spots on either dorsal side. One 7” opaleye present in this exhibit.

Habitat and distribution

Found in tide pools and in shallow reefs and kelp beds, as well as bays and estuaries. Ranges from central California to southern Baja.


Opaleye are primarily herbivorous, although they will readily eat small invertebrates such as molluscs and crustaceans when available

Fun Fact

Opaleye can “breathe air” when brought out of the water, likely an adaptation to the harsh intertidal environment in which it resides.