This week in Lembongan… The fish that we want to focus on is the scorpion fish, as you have to focus quiet a bit to see them. Scott, one of our current PADI Divemaster trainees, spotted a pretty large scorpion fish while diving on the north coast of Nusa Penida a few days ago. Normally hard to spot with the amazing camouflage ability, this one, due to it’s size, was a bit easier to point out!
The scorpion fish, are a family of mostly marine fish that includes many of the world’s most venomous species. As the name suggests, scorpion fish 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. Some common members of this family are; the scorpion fish, (which is in the photo here), lion fish and stone fish.
Often scorpion fish and stone fish are miss identified by divers. Even though they are from the same family, there are many differences. If you look at a stone fish from above, it is kind of round, like a stone, while a scorpion fish still has the shape of a fish. Stone fish have a more grumpy face, compared to the little bit more happy face of the scorpion fish. The scorpion fish’s mouth sits forward on a more distinct jaw while a stone fish has a grumpy upturned mouth.
Most species from the scorpion fish family are bottom-dwellers that feed on crustaceans and smaller fish. Many inhabit shallow waters, but a few live as deep as 2,200 m. Most scorpion fish, such as the stone fish, wait in disguise for prey to pass them by before swallowing, while lion fish often ambush their prey. When not ambushing, lion fish may herd the fish, shrimp, or crab into a corner before swallowing. Like many perciform fishes, scorpion fish are suction feeders that capture prey by rapidly projecting a suction field generated by expansion of the fish’s buccal cavity.