Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Scorpaena dispar, Hunchback Scorpionfish

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deep pit behind eyes
slender eye cirrus
bone atop front mouth: 3-4 spines
inner face pectoral pale/large blotches
scales smooth

Scorpaena dispar Longley & Hildebrand, 1940

Hunchback Scorpionfish

Head very bony, with numerous spines; adults with a well-developed pit on top of head behind eyes; eye moderate; 1st (top most) preopercular spine the largest, short, with a small accessory spine; a slender cirrus over eye; bone over front of mouth with 3-4 spines pointing down; ridge under eye with 2-4 spines; roof of mouth with teeth on sides but not at front; no slit behind last gill arch; dorsal fin XII, 9.5; anal III, 5; pectoral 17-19, with some upper rays branched in adult; scales relatively large, smooth; lateral line complete.

Bright red to orange; often 1-2 dark blotches often on body behind head; inner surface of pectoral base pale, or sometimes with dark blotches; tail fin with small black spots arranged in two vertical bands; small dark spots on body.

Reaches 22.5 cm.

Reef associated.

Depth range: 36-812 m.

S Carolina to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • 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
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 22.5
Depth Range Min
  • 36
Depth Range Max
  • 812