Blotchfin Scorpionfish

Scorpaenodes Varipinnis
Blotchfin Scorpionfish - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Scorpaenodes Varipinnis
Other names Blotched Scorpionfish, Blotchfin Rockfish, Varipinnis Scorpionfish
Size Up to 13 cm (5.11 in)
Weight Under 150 grams


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters amongst rocky & coral reef areas rich with sponges
Depth Range 3 - 40 m (131 ft)
Blotchfin Scorpionfish Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Blotchfin Scorpionfish is found in various regions along the coastlines of Australia. They are primarily known to inhabit Western Australia, Queensland, and Northern New South Wales waters. There are also reports of them being found in parts of Victoria and Tasmania
  • These scorpionfish are known for their striking appearance. They have a stocky body with a large head, covered in bumpy skin and numerous spines. Their coloration can vary, but they typically have a mottled pattern of reddish-brown or yellow-brown, with dark blotches and spots that help them blend into their rocky habitats.
  • They are primarily ambush predators. They lie in wait, partially buried or hidden in crevices, and use their excellent camouflage to surprise and capture their prey. Their diet consists mainly of small fish, crustaceans, and other invertebrates.
  • In addition to their camouflage, Blotchfin Scorpionfish have another defence mechanism to deter predators. They can rapidly expand their mouths, creating a vacuum effect that allows them to inhale smaller prey items or create a suction to keep themselves anchored in their hiding spots.
  • Like other scorpionfish, the Blotchfin Scorpionfish possesses venomous spines on its dorsal fin. These spines contain a potent neurotoxin that can cause intense pain and swelling if they puncture the skin. Caution should be exercised when handling or accidentally encountering these fish.
  • In terms of breeding habits, the Blotchfin Scorpionfish is known to spawn during the warmer months of the year, typically from late spring to early autumn. Male scorpionfish build nests on rocky surfaces and attract females through courtship displays.
  • Estimates of lifespan are between 8 – 10 years, but have been known to live to 15 years.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing, Snorkeling & Diving

Blotchfin Scorpionfish can be incidentally caught by anglers targeting other species. It is important to handle them with care, as their venomous spines can cause painful stings. They are not specifically targeted for recreational fishing. Observing Blotchfin Scorpionfish in the wild can be challenging due to their excellent camouflage abilities. Their coloration and pattern help them blend seamlessly with the surrounding rocks and algae. Divers and snorkelers can spot them by looking for their distinctive shape and the presence of their venomous spines.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Scorpaeniformes

Family: Scorpaenidae

Genus: Scorpaenodes

Species: Scorpaenodes Varipinnis

Conservation Status

The Blotchfin Scorpionfish is not listed as a threatened species in Australia. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), its conservation status is currently assessed as “Least Concern.” However, local populations may be affected by habitat degradation and overfishing.

Fish Taste Quality

Blotchfin Scorpionfish are not commonly targeted for consumption, due to their small size and venomous spines. However, they are known to have firm, white flesh with a delicate flavour.

Taste Rating: no rating

How to catch
Blotchfin Scorpionfish

Catch Difficulty: Easy

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig

Bait: Crab, Fresh cut flesh baits, Pilchards, Prawns, Squid, Worms, Yabbies

Technique: Keep bait close to the reef/structure

Popularity: Not targeted - Bycatch

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Difficult

Temperament: Shy

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Caves, Lagoon

Danger: Venomous Spines

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