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.

Tasseled scorpionfish Scorpaenopsis oxycephalaSome 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.

Yellow spotted scorpionfish, Sebastapistes cyanostigma

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.

Mozambique scorpionfish Parascorpaena Mossambica

Many specialize in hunting after dark and have well developed eyes.

Weedy scorpionfish Rhinopias frondosa is also known as the Lacy Scorpionfish

Some have developed elaborate camouflage and behaviors such as the Paddleflap Scorpionfish below and the Weedy Scorpionfish above.

Paddle-flap scorpionfish or Eschmeyer's scorpionfish Rhinopias eschmeyeri

The Leaf Scorpionfish pictured below is another example of these adaptations.

 Leaf scorpionfish Taenianotus triacanthus or Paperfish

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.

tasseled scorpionfish (Scorpaenopsis oxycephala) is also known as the small-scaled scorpionfish

Raggy Scorpionfish (Scorpaenopsis venosa) is also known as the Yellow-nose Scorpionfish