Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Setarches guentheri, Deepwater Scorpionfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

body soft flabby
head bones soft, translucent
crest under eye: III spines, I = others
pectoral 21-25
scales smooth, tiny, not in rows
eye ~ distance between eyes
red + dark dots
LL in membranous groove



Setarches guentheri Johnson, 1862

Deepwater Scorpionfish

Body relatively deep, soft and flabby; head relatively large , its bones relatively weak, translucent, cavernous; no pit on top of head behind eyes; head spines poorly developed; horizontal ridge under eye with 3 moderate spines, 1st spine as long as next 2; eye relatively large, = distance between eyes; numerous small conical teeth on jaws; teeth present on sides roof of mouth; preopercular margin with 5 spines, 2nd spine ~equal to or longer than 1st and 3rd; a small slit behind 4th gill arch; a single dorsal fin, strongly notched at the rear of the spiny part, XII (XI-XXX) strong, venomous spines, 10 (9-11) soft rays; anal fin III, 5 (4-6); pelvics I, 5, under pectorals; pectorals large, 22.5 (20-25); tail fin round; lateral line complete, a continuous groove covered by thin membraneous scales; scales smooth, tiny, not in definite rows, ~100 vertical rows above lateral line; top of head scaleless; swim bladder well developed.

Live fish: pale red, with dark red diagonal bars; spiny dorsal dark red to black: freshly dead fish with head and body brick red, with tiny reddish-black spots; all fins reddish.

Reaches 31 cm

Lives on & near the bottom.

Depth range 150-1066 m.

Circumglobal in tropical and warm temperate areas except tropical east Pacific; New Jersey to southern Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Offshore
  • Offshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Mid Water
  • Near Bottom
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Water column
  • Mud
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Bentho-Pelagic
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Pelagic crustacea
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Circumtropical ( Indian + Pacific + Atlantic Oceans)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • 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)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 31
Depth Range Min
  • 150
Depth Range Max
  • 1066