Spotted Scorpionfish with Deep Water Sea Fan
Spotted Scorpionfish – Scorpaena plumieri, Family: Scorpionfish – Scorpaenidae1 with Deepwater sea fan Iciligorgia schrammi, Class Anthozoa, Subclass Octocorallia, Order: Gorgonians, Suborder: Scleraxonia, Family: Anthothelidae2
Scorpionfish are masters of camouflage! It’s hard to spot the scorpionfish in the above photograph. If you can’t find it, try looking for the eye, first. I saw spotted this fish from the other side, in Cozumel. I love the way it was positioned right in front of the deep water sea fan.
Fleshy appendages, or flaps, help camouflage scorpionfishes’ large heads and stocky bodies. Mottled and spotted in earth tones, they are difficult to detect as they lie motionless on bottom rubble and/or algae. Spines of the foredorsal fin, which can be raised defensively, are venomous and can inflict a painful wound. Their pectoral fins are often brightly colored, but unseen unless spread. Although species are quite similar at first glance, most can easily be distinguished with attention to detail.1
Click image to enlarge.
1Humann, Paul. Reef Fish Identification, Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas. Ed. Ned DeLoach. 2nd ed. 3rd Printing (Revised). Jacksonville, FL: New World Publications, Inc, 1997.
2Humann, Paul. Reef Coral Identification, Florida Caribbean Bahamas. Ed. Ned DeLoach. Revised 3rd Printing. Jacksonville, FL: New World Publications, Inc., 1996.