A scorpion fish is a group of predatory, marine fish that are found amongst coral reefs and in shallow waters in the more temperate oceans. The scorpion fish is most closely related to the lionfish and is most commonly found in the Indian and South Pacific oceans. You can find them if you dive around the Gili Islands at the dive sites Hans reef, Halik and the Bounty. Oceans 5 dive resort finds almost every dive a scorpion fish.
There are more than 200 recognised species of scorpion fish, hiding amongst the ocean reefs and in artificial aquariums around the world. Scorpion fish are kept in tanks by numerous people because of their interesting appearance and behaviour.
The body of the scorpion fish is often cover in feathery fins that help the scorpion fish to camouflage itself into the surrounding coral. The colours and markings of the scorpion fish are also used to help the scorpion fish to hide.
Scorpion fish are nocturnal predators, and spend the daylight hours resting in a hidden crevice in the coral. Scorpion fish are also able to ambush their prey from this position and often catch small fish by surprise.
Scorpion fish are omnivorous fish and hunt small fish, crustaceans and snails on the coral reefs. Scorpion fish are able to stun their prey with their venom before eating it. Scorpion fish also use their venomous sting to fend off unwanted predators.
The scorpion fish is a very dominant predator in it’s environment, and therefore the scorpion fish has very few natural predators. The human catching the scorpion fish to keep in tanks is the biggest threat to the scorpion fish along with habitat loss from the destruction of coral reefs. Large fish and sea lions are also known to hunt scorpion fish.
The female scorpion fish releases between 2,000 and 15,000 eggs into the water which are fertilised by the male scorpion fish. The scorpion fish pair then quickly hide so that their eggs can float into the ocean before being spotted by predators that eat the eggs. The scorpion fish eggs hatch in just 2 days and the tiny scorpion fish fry remain near the surface of the water until they are bigger. When the scorpion fish fry reach nearly an inch in length, they swim down into the ocean to join the reef community.