So today’s Fishy Friday photograph winner is the scorpionfish. This fish is found mainly in the Indian and South Pacific Oceans, where the waters are both temperate and there are abundant coral reefs.
When looking for them at the New England Aquarium–they’re in the armored and venomous tank along with some of the other deadly fish found in the seas.
They are ambush predators—meaning they wait for their prey to carelessly pass by, and then they strike. They’re also venomous, which means that they have very few predators themselves (though sharks, rays, and larger snappers are know to hunt scorpionfish).
They use their venom to stun their prey, before swallowing them whole. Their diet consists of small fish, crustaceans, and snails that they find within the coral reefs at night. They have a life span of about 15 years in the wild, and are solitary animals—they only congregate for mating.
The female may release ~15,000 eggs in the water for the males to fertilize, and fertilized eggs will then float to the surface. Within two days, baby scorpionfish hatch and remain near the surface until they grow enough to swim down to the reefs.
One main threat to the scorpionfish is loss of habitat (the coral reefs are dying off due to warming of the oceans).