- Weedy Scorpionfish can be found along the north eastern coastline of Australia. They are known to occur in the Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea, and various other reefs and rocky habitats in Queensland.
- Weedy Scorpionfish have a unique and fascinating appearance. They have a stocky body with elaborate skin flaps and branches that resemble seaweed, hence their name. Their coloration can vary from red to orange, yellow, or brown, allowing them to blend in with their surroundings. These fish also possess venomous spines on their dorsal fins, which they use for protection.
- They are carnivorous predators that primarily feed on small fish, crustaceans, and other invertebrates found within their habitat. Their hunting strategy involves waiting patiently for prey to swim by, relying on their camouflage to remain undetected before swiftly striking at their unsuspecting victims.
- Weedy Scorpionfish possess remarkable camouflage abilities that enable them to blend in perfectly with their surroundings. They can change their coloration and texture, matching the surrounding coral or rocky environment to remain hidden from both prey and potential predators. Additionally, their elaborate skin flaps and branches mimic the appearance of algae and seaweed, adding to their effective disguise.
- Weedy Scorpionfish are oviparous, meaning they reproduce by laying eggs. The breeding season for this species typically occurs during the warmer months in Australia, from spring to early autumn. Male scorpionfish attract females by changing their coloration and displaying courtship behaviours.
- After the female lays her eggs, the male fertilises them externally. The eggs are then left unguarded and float freely in the water column, where they undergo a pelagic larval phase. During this time, the larvae are vulnerable to predation and environmental conditions. Once they reach a certain stage of development, they settle on the substrate and undergo metamorphosis into juvenile scorpionfish.
- Estimates of lifespan are between 10 – 15 years.
Recreational Fishing, Aquarium, Snorkeling & Diving
Weedy Scorpionfish are not targeted for recreational fishing, but are sometimes caught as bycatch. Their venomous spines and protected status in some areas discourage anglers from actively seeking them. They are occasionally kept in aquariums by experienced fish keepers. Due to their unique appearance and feeding behaviour, they can be an attractive addition to an aquarium. They are a fascinating species to observe while snorkeling or diving, as their camouflage makes them blend seamlessly with the surrounding coral and rocky habitats. Their intricate skin flaps and branches make them look like living art installations on the reef.
Species: Rhinopias Aphanes
In Australia, the Weedy Scorpionfish is considered a species of “least concern”. It is not currently listed as threatened or endangered. However, specific regional populations may face localised threats due to habitat degradation, pollution, and destructive fishing practices.
How to catch
Catch Difficulty: Easy
Tackle: Running Sinker Rig
Bait: Crab, Fresh cut flesh baits, Pilchards, Prawns, Squid, Worms
Technique: Keep bait close to the reef/structure
Popularity: Not targeted - Bycatch
As Aquarium Fish
Care Level: Moderate to difficult
Reef Compatible: Yes
Minimum Tank Size: 100 gallons
- Snorkeling & Scuba
Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon
Danger: Venomous Spines