Little Scorpionfish

Scorpaenodes Smithi
Little Scorpionfish - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Scorpaenodes Smithi
Other names Smith's Scorpionfish, Little Leaf Scorpionfish, Dwarf Scorpionfish
Size Up to 8 cm (3.14 in)
Weight Under 25 grams


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters amongst sandy & muddy areas of deep reefs
Depth Range 1 - 50 m (164 ft)
Little Scorpionfish Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Little Scorpionfish is found in various coastal areas around Australia. It’s main range is within Western Australia, primarily found in coastal areas of Perth, Rottnest Island, and the Ningaloo Reef.
  • Little Scorpionfish have a unique appearance characterised by a stocky body and numerous venomous spines on their dorsal fin, anal fin, and gill covers. Their coloration varies depending on their surroundings, but they typically display shades of brown, red, or orange with intricate patterns that help them blend in with their environment.
  • They are carnivores, primarily feeding on small fish, shrimp, and other invertebrates. Their hunting strategy involves lying motionless on the seafloor or among rocks, camouflaging themselves to ambush unsuspecting prey that ventures close.
  • Little Scorpionfish are capable of changing their coloration to some extent, allowing them to blend in with their surroundings more effectively. This ability helps them remain hidden from both predators and potential prey.
  • Like other members of the Scorpaenidae family, the Little Scorpionfish possesses venomous spines for defence and hunting. These spines contain toxins that can cause severe pain, swelling, and other symptoms if they puncture the skin. Prompt medical attention should be sought if stung.
  • Breeding habits of the Little Scorpionfish are through external fertilisation. During the breeding season, which typically occurs between late spring and early summer, females release their eggs into the water column, while males release their sperm to fertilise them.
  • Estimates of lifespan are between 10 – 15 years.
Species Interaction

Snorkeling & Diving

Observing Little Scorpionfish in the wild can be a fascinating experience. However, caution must be exercised, as they possess venomous spines that can cause painful injuries. It is recommended to maintain a safe distance and avoid touching or provoking these fish to prevent accidental stings.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Scorpaeniformes

Family: Scorpaenidae

Genus: Scorpaenodes

Species: Scorpaenodes Smithi

Conservation Status

In Australia, the Little Scorpionfish is not currently classified under any specific conservation status. However, it is important to note that Australia has various management measures and regulations in place to protect and sustainably manage fish populations, including those of the Scorpaenidae family.

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Difficult

Temperament: Shy

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon

Danger: Venomous Spines

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