Postcard from the Reef – Scorpion

I have found these fish in the daytime, usually deep inside a cauliflower coral and nearly impossible to photograph. By night they emerge to hunt. As with most scorpionfish, they are ambush hunters, sitting on the bottom and waiting for some hapless critter to come too close. Of course the habit of sitting still makes them ideal targets for a camera, they hold their ground even when the strobe goes off.

Cheekspot Scorpionfish
A cheekspot scorpionfish (Scorpaenodes littoralis) near the shore in 4′ of water, Mahukona

Postcard from the Reef – Devil Scorpionfish

I didn’t spot it this time either. It was Mark who was pointing at the coral. I looked, looked again… Oh! There is something there. The camouflage these fish utilize is impressive, even from quite close they blend amazingly well with the coral and algae. I wonder how many times I have drifted past one of these fish without seeing it.

As Olivier and I got closer to take a few photos, the fish began to walk away. Yes, I said walk. The fish would walk several feet on its pectoral fins then try to sit still and hide again. A truly weird thing, watching a fish walk across the reef.

Devil Scorpionfish
Devil Scorpionfish (Scorpaenopsis diabolus) on the reef at O'oma

Postcard from the Reef – Leaf Scorpionfish

Dave spotted it, what appeared as a piece of debris lying in the coral. A closer look showed this ‘debris’ has fins. It is a Leaf Scorpionfish crouching low in the coral. I have seen a few members of this interesting family lately, often challenging to spot.

Leaf Scorpionfish
Leaf Scorpionfish (Taenianotus triacanthus) crouched in finger coral