Scorpaenidae, the scorpionfish, are a family of mainly marine fish that include many of the world’s most venomous species. The scorpionfish have a type of “sting” in the form of very sharp dorsal, anal and pelvic spines with venom glands at their base.
Some such as the Stonefish can be fatal to humans. They are widespread in tropical and temperate seas and are mainly found in the Indo-Pacific. They vary greatly in size with the Yellowspotted Scorpionfish below being one of the smaller species.
Most are ambush predators that rely on their camouflage to disguise them. Despite the fact that they may appear brightly colored their camouflage is tailored for specific conditions where red light does not penetrate the water and red appears as black.
Many specialize in hunting after dark and have well developed eyes.
Some have developed elaborate camouflage and behaviors such as the Paddleflap Scorpionfish below and the Weedy Scorpionfish above.
The Leaf Scorpionfish pictured below is another example of these adaptations.
Others such as the Lionfish use their large fins to herd smaller prey into a position where they can make a rapid dart and then swallow them. Prey is usually swallowed whole and they do not have well developed teeth. Instead they rely on a suction effect to suck the prey into their proportionally large mouths whereupon they swallow them whole.