When one says "scorpionfish", what comes to mind? Often conjured up are images of showy lionfish with their frilly displays or camouflaged stonefish lying in wait for their prey. More importantly, one should think, "Stay away" or "Be careful", for these guys are poisonous. These three groups of fishes (lionfish, stonefish and scorpionfish) have venomous spines capable of inflicting a nasty sting, thus the name. Some, like the lionfish, are more extravagant, while others are almost impossible to see—often it is the eye that is noticed before the body.
All scorpionfish are carnivorous—some slowly stalk their prey, while others are ambush predators—they dart out quickly, opening their wide mouths to create suction, and draw the prey in. You can find representative species all over the reef. This Fowler's scorpionfish (shown, Sebastapistes fowleri) is the world's smallest scorpionfish, residing deep within the branches of coral, almost imperceptibly. Sampling in Moorea has shown them to be much more common than one might think, since they are not often seen lurking about. They take advantage of the structural protection of the coral and opportunistically feed on small crustaceans and other invertebrates that also hide among the branches. No place is safe from these ambush predators....
Chris Meyer, Seabird McKeon, Hannah Stewart, and Matthew Johnson
Accessed from Barcode of Life Data Systems
MBFA646-07 | MNHN_2008-845 | Sebastapistes fowleri | COI-5P
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