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Species: Pontinus rathbuni, Highfin Scorpionfish

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snout short (~eye)
before eye: 2 spine points down and back
eye cirrus - short, splayed tip
D spines tall, none elongate
4 dark bars
no pit behind eyes
pectoral 17-18, no rays branched
short V bone under throat
scales rough

Pontinus rathbuni Goode & Bean, 1896

Highfin Scorpionfish

Head very bony, with numerous spines, without pit behind eye; cirrus over eye usually shorter than eye and splayed at tip; snout short, ~eye; ridge under eye with 3-4 spines; uppermost preopercular spine longest; bone above mouth before eye with 2 spines pointing back and down, plus a small spine often on its side; teeth on roof of mouth at sides but not at front; slit present behind last gill arch; a short V shaped bone at junction of front rays of gill membranes under throat; dorsal fin XII (high at front, but no single spine notably elongated), 9.5; anal III+5; pectoral with longest rays in center, 17 (16-18) rays, all unbranched; scales rough, present on cheek, behind eye and on chest; lateral line complete, with tubes on scales.

Probably reddish with darker spots and blotches on pectoral and tail fins; dark smudges on lateral line scales; small fish often with 4 dark bars.

Reaches 25 cm.

Rocky and shell bottoms.

Depth range: 73-1033 m.

N Carolina to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 25
Depth Range Min
  • 73
Depth Range Max
  • 1033