The Mozambique scorpionfish Parascorpaena Mossambica is one of the smaller scorpionfish. They have a very distinctive set of elongated cirri above the eyes. As with all the scorpionfish, they are ambush predators.
The body colour varies from brown to a lavender colour with red in between as in the images. They have a typical scorpionfish shaped body with a proportionally large head with a large mouth. There are numerous frills on the body which aid in camouflaging them. They grow up to 15 cm in length.
IN THE WILD
The Mozambique scorpionfish is usually seen in areas with sandy bottoms or rubble, sometimes in crevices. They are also found in weedy areas in lagoons. Despite their sometimes bright coloration they are well camouflaged and can be difficult to spot. This specimen was photographed on Mafia Island .
It used to be thought that they were widely distributed across the Indo pacific. Recent research using DNA has shown the ones found in the eastern Indian Ocean and Pacific areas to be a separate species. They have been renamed Parascorpaena armata. Current thinking is that Parascorpaena Mossambica is only found in the western Indian Ocean. They are found from 2 meters to 20 meters in depth.
They are ambush predators and will eat any passing fish or crustacean that they can fit in their mouths.
They are oviparous with females producing eggs that when fertilized are released and float near the surface. Little else is known about scorpionfish reproduction.
They are kept in aquariums but will eat anything that fits in their mouths so care has to be taken in choosing their tank mates. As with most scorpionfish they are relatively easy to get onto prepared foods.
MOZAMBIQUE SCORPIONFISH CLASSIFICATION
Species: P. mossambica
The Reef Guide: Southern Africa’s East and South Coasts
Dennis King and Valda Fraser