Caribbean Scorpionfish (Scorpaenodes caribbaeus)
The Caribbean Scorpionfish is commonly referred to as the Reef Scorpionfish. These fish are native to the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, Bahamas, Caribbean, Brazil and Bermuda. They dwells in coral reefs on rocky or rubble bottoms, sometimes hiding among the coral or rocks. Generally, these fish stay in water depths of 3 to 60 feet.
As docile as they may appear, these fish are armed with venomous spines. Their venom is housed in their spines, that blend with it\’s fleshy exterior. When the Caribbean Scorpionfish are alarmed or disturbed, their dangerous and venomous spines appear. Unlucky victims claim extreme pain and burning sensation.
The Caribbean Scorpionfish has various colorations, although most are shades of brown, white, or maroon. Some specimens may also exhibit colors of yellow, orange or bright red. These creatures are masters at camouflage, with a mottled appearance they blend into their surrounding. These fish reach lengths of 2 to 4 inches, some specimens may get even larger.
Their usual prey is ghost shrimp, mollies, guppies, small octopus and other small reef animals. The Caribbean Scorpionfish will eat almost anything that will fit in it\’s mouth. In fact, they can swallow fish that are nearly as large as they are. They lay in wait of prey to swim close by, slowly opening their mouth and a fraction of a second later, opening their gills. This creates a suction and pulls their victim into their mouth.
Information courtesy of wikipedia.org, marinebio.com, reefguide.com
Photo courtesy of coral.org