Scorpionfish – 4 spices

  • Scorpionfish Stonefish
  • Scorpionfish Lionfish
  • Bearded Scorpionfish
  • Devil Scorpionfish

Scorpionfish includes many of the world’s most venomous species of fish. They live close to the ground, in the benthos. They often use camouflage to hide from predators and ambush their prey. Their hunting technique is based on the element of surprise: they remain motionless until prey comes within reach, then they open their mouth and use it as a vacuum to swallow their catch. They feed mainly on crustaceans, little fish and mollusks.

Scorpionfishes are not aggressive. When threatened, they erect their dorsal spines and flee after a few seconds, just to find another spot nearby and hide again.

Scorpionfishes produce a floating, gelatinous mass in which the eggs are embedded.


Motionless Stonefish taking the appearance of a stone to ambush prey

Motionless Stonefish taking the appearance of a stone to ambush prey

The adult Stonefish measures between 30 and 40 cm (12 to 16 in). Its bulging body is more or less informed, flabby, puffy and covered with warty skin growths. Stonefish can be white, brown, yellow, pink or even purple, having the ability to take the colors of its environment. Its skin secretes mucus capable of retaining the crumbled corals and algae carried by the current. Algae can even thrive and grow on its body surface. This camouflage usually renders stonefish almost perfectly undetectable amid rocks, corals and algae.

In order to reproduce, a stonefish lays as many as a million eggs. In the initial stage of pregnancy, the unfertilized eggs remain inside female stonefish’s body.

Then it releases these eggs on the sea floor, and the male stonefish fertilizes the eggs by releasing its semen all over them.

Their predators include sharks and rays.


Scorpionfish Lionfish

Two Lionfish hunting around in the reef

This scorpionfish, also called zebrafish, firefish, turkeyfish or butterfly-cod is very frequenty seen around reefs. Adults can measure 5 cm (2 in) to 45 cm (18 in) in length and weight 0.025 to 1.3 kg (0.055 to 2.866 lb)

They are famous for their ornate beauty, venomous spines and unique tentacles. Juvenile lionfish have a unique tentacle located above their eye sockets. This tentacle is suggested to serve to continually attract new prey and plays a role in sexual selection. The lionfish is a voracious predator with a wide spectrum of potential prey. They are skilled hunters, altering their center of gravity to lead attacks. They also disorient their prey by blowing jets of water while approaching them. Besides, adults do not have natural predators because of their venomous spines.

Their annual fertility equals 2 million eggs per female and each Lionfish reach sexual maturity in their first year of life. They can live from five to 15 years.
For all these reasons, Lionfish have a very high colonizing capacity and can be encountered at almost every dives.

Bearded Scorpionfish

A Bearded Scorpionfish

A Bearded Scorpionfish beneath a sea cucumber

The bearded scorpionfish’s body is dark brown or reddish brown, mottled with whitish and blackish blotches. Its name refers to the fleshy outgrowth of skin protruding from its chin. It can reach 22 cm (8.6 in) in length. It usually rest on rocks or among corals and marine plants.

Devil Scorpionfish

A devil scorpionfish waiting on the sea floor to hunt

A devil scorpionfish waiting on the sea floor to hunt

The devil Scorpionfish, also called false stonefish can reach 30 cm (11.8 in) long. Its distinctive physical feature is a bump on the back of the head. It remains on the substrate and moves with its pectoral fins. This scorpion fish likes rocky bottoms, lagoons and reef tops. It can be seen between 1 and 70 m (3.2 to 330 ft) depth. Just like other scorpionfish, the devil scorpionfish use camouflage to ambush their prey.


If you want to discover more about these intriguing fishes, go on SSS Phuket’s website and come for a dive trip with us !

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