Lionfish, Scorpionfish & Stonefish
Lionfish are one of the more elaborate looking fish seen on the reef. Although usually seen at night, they can be seen during daylight hours. Lionfish are easily identified by their long feather-like pectoral and dorsal fins. They are a red-orange colour with white markings. Lionfish are more commonly found cruising around on the sand hunting for small fish, often in small groups. Lionfish have fourteen poisonous spines that run down their back and are used when they are threatened, raising them in defence. Lionfish can become quite large, reaching up to 30cm in length.
Scorpionfish are solitary bottom-dwelling fish, which are highly dependant upon their appearance for camouflage. Tentacles and skin flaps are present over the body aiding their disguise. The body is long, reaching up to 35cm, with a downward turning mouth. Some species of scorpionfish are able to change their colour dependant on their surroundings. Scorpionfish lie on the reef, waiting for their prey of small fish and crustaceans to pass near them. Scorpionfish, like Lionfish, have fourteen poisonous spines down their back that are used for self defence.
Stonefish (Common reef stonefish – Synanceia verrucosa) Considered to be the most venomous fish in the sea, they have 13 highly venomous dorsal spines. It is very painful but unlikely to cause death. You treat a sting with hot water or anti-venom in sever cases. They spend most of their time resting on coral or algae. They are highly camouflaged…they look like a stone! A stonefish doesn’t have scales – it is encrusted with warts and skin flaps. You can eat stonefish – used in sashimi cuisine. They can spit water!
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