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Scorpionfishes live in various parts of the world. Some of them, such as the California scorpionfish, live in the waters off the coast of Southern California and Baja California.

Like the turkeyfishes, scorpionfishes have a venom gland alongside the spines of their dorsal, ventral and anal fins. The venom from the California scorpionfish is almost as dangerous as the venom of the turkeyfishes. Hawaii also has a number of species of scorpionfishes, and some of them are venomous. The ugly-faced scorpionfish, found only in Hawaii, can grow to 20 inches long.

Scorpionfishes sit quietly on the bottom, waiting for unwary fish to swim by. Their colors make it easy for them to blend in with rocks and sponges, which makes them very hard to see. This is why some experienced divers consider them the most dangerous of fishes (along with the stonefishes).

The orange scorpionfish lives in the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic.

Sailback Scorpionfish
photo by Gene Wolfsheimer,
Living Fishes of the World, p. 220


California Scorpionfish
photo by Ron Church,
Living Fishes of the World, p. 221


Orange Scorpionfish
photo by Douglas P. Wilson,
Living Fishes of the World, p. 223


The sailback scorpionfish is a 3-inch fish usually found near the Philippines and the East Indies. The sailback can raise and lower its sail, depending on its mood.
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