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Yellowspotted Scorpionfish

Sebastapistes Cyanostigma
Yellowspotted Scorpionfish - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Sebastapistes Cyanostigma
Other names Coral Scorpionfish, Pink & Yellow Scorpionfish
Size Up to 10 cm (3.9 in)
Weight A few grams


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal waters amongst inshore & seaward coral reefs, often in surge zone areas
Depth Range 3 - 30 m (100 ft)
Yellowspotted Scorpionfish Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Yellowspotted Scorpionfish can be found along the eastern and southern coastlines of Australia. They are particularly abundant in the Great Barrier Reef region, extending from Queensland down to parts of northern New South Wales.
  • They are a visually striking species with a distinct appearance. They have a stocky body covered in bumpy scales and long, venomous spines along their dorsal fin. Their coloration varies from reddish-brown to dark brown, adorned with vivid yellow spots all over their body. This intricate pattern helps them blend into their surroundings.
  • Yellowspotted Scorpionfish are opportunistic carnivores, preying on small fish and invertebrates. They have a sit-and-wait hunting strategy, relying on their camouflage to blend with their surroundings before ambushing unsuspecting prey that ventures too close.
  • They possess remarkable camouflage abilities, allowing it to blend seamlessly with its environment. Its coloration and spots mimic the surrounding coral, rocks, and algae, making it difficult for predators and prey alike to detect its presence.
  • Like other scorpionfish, the Yellowspotted Scorpionfish possesses venomous spines on its dorsal fin. These spines serve as a defence mechanism against predators and are used to immobilize prey. The venom can cause severe pain, swelling, and, in some cases, systemic effects, requiring immediate medical attention if envenomation occurs.
  • Yellowspotted Scorpionfish follow a unique reproductive strategy called “broadcast spawning.” During the breeding season, which generally occurs from spring to early summer, males and females release their eggs and sperm into the water simultaneously. This allows fertilisation to occur externally.
  • Estimates of lifespan are between 5 – 10 years.
Species Interaction

Snorkeling & Diving

Observing Yellowspotted Scorpionfish in the wild can be an exciting experience for snorkelers and scuba divers. Their vibrant coloration and intricate patterns make them stand out against the backdrop of reefs and rocky outcrops. However, caution must be exercised due to their venomous spines, and it is important not to disturb or provoke them.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Scorpaeniformes

Family: Scorpaenidae

Genus: Sebastapistes

Species: Sebastapistes cyanostigma

Conservation Status

In Australia, the Yellowspotted Scorpionfish is listed as a “Least Concern” species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. This means that it is not currently facing any significant threats or experiencing population declines.

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Intermediate

Temperament: Shy

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Caves, Lagoon

Danger: Venomous Spines

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