The Scorpionfish are a group of highly camouflaged poisonous fish that spend most of their time tucked away in a little rocky recess, laying motionless and just watching the world go by. Identification can at times be tricky as their covering of cirri and other skin surface topography, plus their ability to change colours slightly to blend in with their surroundings, makes species characteristics hard to see at times. The one pictured here is most likely the Spotted Scorpionfish (Scorpaena plumieri). Being the masters of camouflage that they are, it is possible to closely approach this species as they are apparently so completely sure they haven’t been spotted, but this camouflage is also what makes them dangerous as they can easily be nudged unintentionally by an unsuspecting elbow or knee. Puncture wounds from their venomous spines can cause severe pain and illness. Watch out, but as with all marine creatures it is etiquette never to touch them anyway!!
Interestingly the invasive Lionfish is a relative of these native Caribbean scorpionfish, although it is much more brazen in its behaviour and never sits on a rock trying to be camoflaged. It has a much more ‘look at me!’ approach to life!
Originally posted on Instagram @sea_anguilla with the text: Can you see me? A Spotted Scorpionfish lays motionless on a rock encrusted with algae, perfectly camouflaged. These venomous fish, a close relative of the invasive Lionfish, are more common than one might think. Luckily for beach goers they do not share the same habitat choices as their temperate cousin the Stone Fish, who can be trodden on by unsuspecting paddlers. Instead, the Scorpionfish spends most of its time hiding on the reef, so only divers and snorkelers need to watch where they put their hands. Another gentle reminder to look but not touch when enjoying the underwater world.