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An interesting fact about the scorpion fish is that you don’t see it.
Usually, when we write an article about a Caribbean marine animal, we make reference to the times we see them or accompany us on our dives.
Well, we barely see the scorpion fish. This is not because its number of specimens is low or it is among the threatened species, no. The scorpion fish goes unnoticed because it is a master of disguise, an expert in camouflage, and an ace of concealment.
Therefore, adjust your glasses and look at the table of contents. So, you don’t miss out.
1. What Is a Scorpion Fish?
The scorpion fish, also known as stone fish or rockfish, are marine animals of the Scorpaenidae family.
These are fish that commonly live among rocks and corals. They have big heads compared with the rest of the body. They are generally protected by spines and fins that may or may not be venomous, depending on the species.
2. Types of Scorpion Fish
There are 36 families, 65 genera, and more than 1600 species known by the common name of scorpion fish. Below you can find photos of the most common scorpionfish species in the Caribbean. Other species we have chosen for their formidable aspect, and some will surprise you.
Plumed Scorpionfish (Scorpaena grandicornis)
Mushroom Scorpionfish (Scorpaena inermis)
Scorpionfish with tassels
3. Scorpionfish Vs Lion Fish Vs Stone Fish
Scorpionfish, lionfish, and stonefish are three types of fish or the Scorpaenidae family. Due to the similarity of the scientific name with the word scorpion, they are all popularly called scorpion fish.
That’s why the scorpion fish and the stone fish are among the scorpion fish photos you just saw. However, they belong to different genera.
– They wait for their prey
– Brilliant colors to blend in with the reef can replicate the pattern of its surroundings: red, reddish-brown, or brown and may have streaked or mottled color patterns.
– Their dorsal fins contain venom.
– Big protruding eyes
– They hunt actively
– Feather-like fins with reddish stripes. Their colors are a visual warning.
– The spines of its dorsal fins contain venom.
– Large eyes.
– In the Caribbean, they are an invasive species that decimate populations
– They wait for their prey
– Brown and greenish colors to blend in with the stones.
– It is considered the most poisonous fish in the world.
– Small eyes
– Big moody mouth whose corners turn radically downwards.
4. Where Does the Scorpion Fish Live?
They like to live near rocks and reefs where the water is warm. The vast majority of species are found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, but there are also scorpionfish species in the Caribbean, where we can find abundant populations.
5. Are Scorpionfish poisonous?
All species in the scorpion fish family are considered venomous.
Most scorpionfish venom is found on the spines of their dorsal fins, although some species also have venom on their ventral and anal fins spines.
The scorpion fish is not aggressive and does not attack humans. Nor does it run away. The sting occurs when the thorn breaks through the skin when touched.
6. Scorpionfish Predators
Despite their protection, scorpion fish are still victims of predators such as sharks, large snappers, and, on top of all, humans. They are appreciated in the kitchen.
7. What Does the Scorpion Fish Eat?
Scorpionfish are mostly ambush hunters.
They feed on crustaceans, fish, and snails mainly. Even small cephalopods are part of their menu.
8. Scorpionfish Camouflage
The scorpion fish is heavily camouflaged and blends in with the environment, which helps them capture their prey. They mostly eat animals that eat plants or coral and confuse them with them. Other times, their victims seek safe refuge in the coral without knowing that they are nearing their end.
As we have seen, there are different species of scorpionfish. Some are better disguised among the mud and stones, while others are practically imperceptible among the corals.
9. Scorpionfish Reproduction
Although scorpion fish lead solitary lives, they do come together for reproduction.
The vast majority of species are ovoviviparous. This means that the eggs are fertilized inside the female. After that, she expels a gelatinous bag full of eggs. So, the current carries them away.
There are also pure oviparous species where the females spawn, while the males fertilize and incubate.
The hatched larvae live on plankton.
We hope you enjoyed these 9 scorpion fish facts. Let us know your thoughts on Facebook.