Size series of 116 Anisotremus davidsonii (2.2–24.9 mm) and 131 Xenistius californiensis (2.2–41.7 mm) from field collections were examined for pigmentation, and most specimens were measured to determine morphometric characteristics. Subsets of 39 A. davidsonii
(2.9–23.6 mm) and 25 X. californiensis (2.7–24.1 mm) were cleared and stained to examine skeletal development. Pigment in both species is largely limited to the ventrum and to the dorsal surface of the gut and swimbladder throughout larval development. Both species subsequently
develop rather heavy dorsal and dorsolateral pigment; small juveniles display the longitudinal stripes that are well known in juvenile Haemulinae. Both species are moderately slender, with preanal length roughly half of body length. Development in both is gradual, with no marked changes in
proportions. Both look like typical haemulines. Skeletal development differs little from that described for other haemulines. Bones of the jaws, operculum, and suspensorium are among the first to ossify, usually before notochord flexion. Ossification of neural and haemal arches and spines
and vertebral centra, except the urostyle, is anterior to posterior. Pterygiophores and soft rays form first in the middle of the dorsal and anal fins in both species; addition is both anterior and posterior. Addition of dorsal spines begins posteriorly, but then may continue from anterior
to posterior. Larval sargo and salema are distinguished from similar larvae off California and northern Baja California primarily by a combination of myomere count and ventral pigment on the tail. Larval sargo typically have pigment on the peritoneum just anterior to the liver, while larval
salema do not. Larval salema usually have a melanophore under the anterior hindbrain, while preflexion stage larval sargo usually do not. After notochord flexion sargo are deeper-bodied than salema. Dorsal fin ray counts allow easy separation of postflexion and older sargo (14–15) from
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