White Devil Scorpion Fish

August 13, 2015

 

We found this well-camouflaged ambush predator at a beauitful site not far from our island on a dive lead by Caroline Batu Batu's Divemaster Trainee. The white Devil Scorpion fish spends most of its time resting motionless on the seafloor somtimes for days, looking more like part of the reef than a fish. When smaller fishes venture near, the scorpionfish makes a quick lunge and opening its huge mouth in a fraction of a second inhales the prey into its large un heavenly mouth. Its excellent camouflage also helps it escape detection by predators.

 

But this slow-moving fish has another defense one that has earned it the name scorpionfish. Running down its back, within the dorsal fin, is a row of venomous spines. At the base of each grooved spine is a sac of venom, and if a predator bites down on the fish, the venom is forced up a groove the spine and into the predator.  

 

All are well camouflaged and all have the venomous spines. Because they blend in so well with the reef, waders, snorkelers and divers sometimes can be stung if they accidentally step on or touch any member of the scorpionfish family. The primary symptom is severe pain which can last as long as twelve hours if left untreated. The best treatment for a scorpionfish sting is soaking in very hot water, this denatures the protein venom. But, you should always consult a physician for the most current treatment options. A Hawaiian scorpionfish sting, while very painful, is not considered life threatening.

 

So this is why we take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but bubbles ;)

 

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