Volume 4 Number 14
Scorpionfish Lurks as it Hunts
on The Strip Reef near Bimini, The Bahamas
The Scorpionfish is a lurk-and-lunge hunter. It uses its amazing camouflage to wait for its food to come to it. Although this Scorpionfish is not a fast swimmer, it is a very fast "sprinter." It will wait for a small fish to swim right in front of its nose, then with a might push from its huge pectoral fins (the fins on the sides of its body) it will rush forward and open its mouth wide. When it opens its mouth, water rushes in to fill the void. This rush of water pulls the little fish right into the Scorpionfish's mouth, giving this "lazy" hunter a quick and easy meal.
The Scorpionfish is a medium-sized fish, about the size and shape of a football. The Scorpionfish in this picture was about 12 inches long. If you look closely, you can see this Scorpionfish's large pectoral fins. The spines in its fins make these fins look like a fan of feathers.
In the background on the left you can see a small school of French Grunts. Also notice how so much of this reef is covered by algae. The green leaves of these seaweeds have choked out the coral animals. You also can see a few small patches of Orange Boring Sponges. Learn about Corals, Sponges, Algae, and Animals that eat Algae on the ReefNews Guide to Corals.
See another picture of a Scorpionfish and learn how it uses its camouflage 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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