Volume 4    Number 14

Scorpionfish Cloaked at a Reef
in the Northern Bahamas


The Scorpionfish is a master of disguise. This little lump sits right out in the open on reefs in the Northern Caribbean, using the lobes and colors on its skin to blend in with the algae covering the reef. This camouflage is so good that it is often hard to see these animals even when they are right in front of you.

The Scorpionfish is a medium-sized fish, about the size and shape of a football. The Scorpionfish in this picture was about 10 inches long.

Scorpionfish depend on their amazing camouflage for protection. But they also have another defense. The spines in their fins are filled with a toxic venom. If another fish or some other animal tries to eat them, the venom in these spines might kill or stun the attacker. Then if the Scorpionfish hadn't been injured in the attack, it would be able to swim away to safety. Scorpionfish are not fast swimmers, so these defenses are important as it lurks on the reef.

See another picture of a Scorpionfish and learn how it hunts in the other article in this issue of e-ReefNews.

This picture first appeared on the ReefNews CD-ROM "Bimini: Jewel of the Gulf Stream." You also can read more about the island of Bimini and its reefs on the ReefNews website, at http://www.reefnews.com/reefnews/oceangeo/bimini/bimini.html.



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