Bearded scorpionfish - Scorpaenopsis barbata

Description Bearded scorpionfish Scorpaenopsis barbata Scorfano Barbuto

Bearded scorpionfishes – Scorpaenopsis barbata – are found in the western Indian Ocean from the Red Sea to the coasts of Madagascar and South Africa. They are reef-associated and benthic (bottom-dwelling) to depths of at least 30 m.

Scorpaenopsis barbata – Author Stefano

Dorsal spines (total): 12; Dorsal soft rays (total): 9; Anal spines: 3; Anal soft rays: 5; Vertebrae: 24. Body heavily pigmented with dark brown or reddish brown, mottled with whitish and blackish blotches; often with a dark brown bar extending ventrally from posterior half of eye and broadening onto lower cheek. Upper opercular spine broad with a strong median ridge. Space between opercular spines with 1 or more ridges. Bearded scorpionfish Scorpaenopsis barbata Scorfano Barbuto

Paired interorbital ridges prominent, separated by a channel more than twice width of 1 ridge, and ending at a ridge extending medially from postocular spine along incurved edge of moderately deep occipital pit. An oblique ridge lateral to each interorbital ridge from above middle of orbit, converging posteriorly with interorbital ridge. Tympanic spines about as long as postocular spines, close behind but separated from ridge extending medially from postocular spines. Median interorbital ridge prominent, reaching well into anterior interorbital space. First and 2nd suborbital spines oblique, sharply ridged, and with supplemental ridges.

Feeding Behavior (Ecology)

Bearded scorpionfishes, Scorpaenopsis barbata, are ambush hunters feeding mainly on crustaceansexternal link and other fishes.

Life History

Family Scorpaenidae members fertilization is mostly internal. Eggs are laid in a gelatinous balloon in some species; larvaeexternal link are planktonic. Very little specific data is available for this species.


The Nungwi Barrier Reef – Stefano


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