Inhabits rocky areas along shallow exposed coast line. Greenlings can change their color to blend with the surrounding sunlit rock and seaweed. Their scales are very rough and give the body a sandpaper-like texture. An 1886 description of a greenling comes from naturalist J.K. Lord. He was overcome by its beauty, and said "its sides...rival in beauty many a tropical flower...[and are] adorned with colors not only conspicuous for their brilliancy, but grouped and blended in a manner one sees only represented in the plumage of a bird, the wing of a butterfly, or the petals of an orchid...red, blue, orange, and green are so mingled that the only thing I can think of as a comparison is a floating flower bed, and even the gardener's art, in grouping, is but a bungle contrasted with nature's painting." Edibility is good. Range is from the Bering Sea to Southern California.