Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Scorpaena mystes, Pacific spotted scorpionfish, Stone scorpionfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

deep pits before & behind eye
mottled + white spots
inside pectoral: black blotch, rows white spots
bars on C
ridge under eye: 3-4 spines
body: many skin flaps

Scorpaena mystes Jordan & Starks in Jordan, 1895

Stone scorpionfish, Pacific spotted scorpionfish

Head very bony, with numerous spines, as deep as broad; a deep pit present behind eyes; a smaller pit below and in front of eye; longitudinal ridge under eye with 3-4 spines; top preopercular spine the longest; roof of mouth with teeth on sides; no slit behind last gill arch; numerous skin flaps on head and body ; dorsal rays XII, 9-10; anal rays III, 5-6; pectoral rays 18-21, the lower rays unbranched and thickened; scales relatively large, smooth on body; lateral line complete; with tubes on scales; 24-25 lateral line scales, 42-48 vertical rows.

Color highly variable, usually a drab mottled mixture of grey, brown, red, green, and black; tail with dark bars; axil of pectoral fin usually dark with white spots, frequently arranged in rows; juveniles with pronounced dark bar on rear body at level of soft dorsal fin. Specimens from the Revillagigedos and Galapagos have more uniformly colored pectoral axils and may represent a separate subspecies.

Size: to 51 cm.

Inhabits weed-covered reefs and open sand- rubble areas.

Depth: 1-100 m.

Southern California through the Gulf of California to Chile, plus the Revillagigedos, Galapagos, Cocos and Malpelo.


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  • Marine
  • Brackish
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Rocks
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Sand & gravel
  • Corals
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • East Pacific endemic
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continent
  • Island (s)
  • TEP endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 51
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 100