PORT PHILLIP BAY


Southern Red Scorpionfish 

Scorpaena papillosa (Schneider & Forster, 1801)

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Dorsal fin spines/rays: XII, 10-11
Anal fin spines/rays: III, 5
Caudal fin rays: 13
Pectoral fin rays: 15-16
Ventral fin spines/rays: I, 5
Lateral line: 23-24
Gill rakers: 14-17

Interpreting fin count meristics.
Spines are in Roman numerals and soft rays are in Arabic numerals. Spines and rays that are continuous in one fin are separated by a comma. Fin sections are separated by semicolons.

Detailed descriptions of fin count and other meristics are in:
Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) (2008) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Order level detail.
A diverse group of bottom-dwelling fishes with a bony ridge, or stay across the cheek connecting the bones under the eye with the gill cover. Most species have spines projecting from bony ridges on the head and some have spines projecting from the gill cover. Many species are well-camouflaged ambush predators, often with elaborate cirri, filaments, leaf-like appendages and spiny ridges enhancing their camouflage. Scales are present or absent. Gurnards (also called searobins) have a pair of rostral spines projecting from the snout, large colourful wing-like pectoral fins and crawl over the bottom on their finger-like pelvic-fin rays. Many species have venomous spines.

Family level detail.
Small to medium-sized bottom-dwelling fishes with a single notched dorsal fin with 12 spines, head and body scaled, and 3 or more spines along the bony ridge beneath the eye. Mostly marine fishes found worldwide in temperate and tropical waters, but most diverse in Indo Pacific. Temperate Australian species have a prominent head with spiny ridges, a large mouth and strong venomous fin spines. They are well-camouflaged ambush predators.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Actinopterygii
Order:
Scorpaeniformes
Family:
Scorpaenidae
Genus:
Scorpaena
Species:
papillosa

General Description

Head and body robust; spines on cheeks, gill covers and a pair on top of the head. Mottled reddish to reddish-brown with darker blotches and whitish patches, and a black spot on the dorsal fin. Some individuals with a white band behind the eyes and on the tail base. To 30 cm.

Biology

This well-camouflaged species has venomous fin spines.

Habitat

Rocky reefs and soft bottoms in bays and along the coast, in depths of 1-188 m.

Reefs

Soft substrates

Distribution guide

New Zealand and south-eastern Australia.

Species Group

Fishes Scorpionfishes

Depth

Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

30 cm

Harmful

Venomous spines can inflict mild to severe pain.

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Recorded in Australia

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author Bray, D.J.

Di Bray is a Senior Collection Manager of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Gomon, M.F.

Dr. Martin Gomon is a Senior Curator of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F., 2011, Southern Red Scorpionfish, Scorpaena papillosa, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 28 Jun 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/6510

Text: creative commons cc by licence