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Species: Scorpaenodes caribbaeus, Reef Scorpionfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

body deep
ridge under eye: 2 rows spines, 3-6 + 1-6
body & fins - dense dark spots
D 9
pectoral 18-20
LL complete, 22-25

Scorpaenodes caribbaeus Meek & Hildebrand, 1928

Reef Scorpionfish

Body relatively deep, depth at dorsal fin origin 33-39% SL; head very bony, with numerous spines; no pit on top of head behind eyes; a row of 1-6 small spines below main row of 3-6 spines on bony ridge under eye; bone above front of mouth with 2 rounded lobes on lower edge and a small spine at rear side; teeth on center of roof of mouth but not on sides; a small slit behind last gill arch; dorsal fin XIII, 9 (last ray divided to base) rays; anal III, 4-5; last dorsal and anal rays branched; pectoral 19 (18-20) rays, longest rays in center, some branched, lowest rays unbranched; scales rough, head usually scaly; small spiny rays at top and bottom of base of tail fin; lateral line complete, 22-25 pored scales.

Color variable; entirely dark brown to red-brown, spotted and blotched with brown and white; head and body densely covered with tiny dark dots; sometimes body white with a broad dark bar from under central spines to under front ray; tail base whitish, with large dark spots in large fish; pectoral, anal, soft dorsal and tail fins with rows of dense dark spots; a poorly defined dark blotch on rear 3 spines of dorsal fin.

Reaches 12 cm.


Depth range: 0-70 m.

Bermuda to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Reef only
  • Rocks
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • 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
  • 12
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 70