Yasser Metwally

My life…and the world

Scorpion fish

The author: Professor Yasser Metwally

http://yassermetwally.com


Scorpaenidae, the scorpionfish, are a family of mostly marine fish that includes many of the world’s most venomous species. As the name suggests, scorpionfish have a type of "sting" in the form of sharp spines coated with venomous mucus. The family is a large one, with hundreds of members.[1] They are widespread in tropical and temperate seas, but mostly found in the Indo-Pacific. They should not be confused with the cabezones, of the genus Scorpaenichthys, which belong to a separate, though related family, Cottidae.

  • Varieties

Some types, such as the lionfish, are attractive as well as dangerous, and highly desired for aquaria. In addition to the name scorpionfish, informal names for family members include "firefish", "turkeyfish", "dragonfish", and "stingfish", usually with adjectives added.

General characteristics of family members include a compressed body, ridges and/or spines on the head, one or two spines on the operculum, and three to five spines on the preopercle. The dorsal fin will have 11 to 17 spines, often long and separated from each other, and the pectoral fins will be well-developed, with 11 to 25 rays. The spines of the dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins all have venom glands at their bases.[2]

Most species are bottom-dwellers that feed on crustaceans and smaller fish. Most species inhabit shallow waters, but a few live as deep as 2,200 metres (7,200 ft).[1] Most Scorpionfish, such as the stonefish, wait in disguise for prey to pass them by before swallowing, while lionfish often ambush their prey. When not ambushing, lionfish may herd the fish, shrimp, or crab in to a corner before swallowing. Scorpionfish feed by opening their mouth, then their gills a fraction of a second apart, creating suction. Stripers, grouper, bass, snook, frogfish, toadfish, sculpin, etc., also feed this way, but the scorpionfish, toadfish and sculpins are the only members of this group that have jaw teeth.

Scorpaenid systematics are complicated and unsettled. Fishes of the World recognizes 10 subfamilies with a total of 388 species, while (as of 2006[update]) FishBase follows Eschmeyer and has 3 subfamilies, 25 genera, and 200 species, some of the species being removed to family Sebastidae which other authorities do not follow.

any of the numerous bottom-living marine fish of the family Scorpaenidae, especially those of the genus Scorpaena, widely distributed in temperate and tropical waters. Sometimes also called rockfish, or stonefish, because they commonly live among rocks, scorpion fish are perchlike fish with large, spiny heads and strong, sometimes venomous, fin spines. The fin spines, with or without venom, can produce deep and painful wounds.

Scorpionfish

Figure 1. Scorpion fish

Many scorpion fish are rather dull in colour, but others are brighter—often some shade of red. The largest members of the family grow about 1 m (39 inches) long. Scorpion fish are carnivorous, generally sedentary fish. They often lie quietly on the bottom, and many blend closely with their surroundings by virtue of their colouring and (in some species) a variety of flaps and projections on the head and body. Better-known species include the redfish and the highly coloured, venomous lion-fish.

Video 1. Scorpion Fish being cleaned by Pederson Shrimp

Advertisements

November 26, 2009 - Posted by | Underwater photography

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: