| Ecological Descriptors
Head large. Its colour is variable. It has 3 dark bars on the tail. Rear of pectoral fin, near the base is black with white spots (only Scorpionfish in Antigua with large white spots),which are displayed when disturbed. This species has an occipital pit at the rear of the head and 3-4 spines on the preorbital bone pointing downwards towards the maxilla.
Highly camouflaged in a wide variety of colours, with cirri (fleshy plumes) covering the eyes and skin flaps covering its head.
Mostly found in shallow coral reef and rocky areas, but also occurs offshore to depths of about 60 m. It is very territorial most of the time. It is piscivorous, feeding mainly on other fish larvae and juveniles, as well as crustaceans. A ambush predator, lying motionless on the ocean floor awaiting an opportunity to surprise potential prey. Has numerous venomous spines: 12 Dorsal, 1 on each pelvic fin and 3 on the anal fin. It is one of the most venomous fish in Antigua (but not poisonous). The dorsal spines are linked to a pressurized venomgland located at the bottom of the dorsal fin.
When disturbed it confused predators by displaying the white spots in the pectoral axil as it slowly swims away, then suddenly stops and turns and dives to the bottom. This stirs up a cloud of sand/ mud and covers the white markings. By the time the silt clears, the fish is highly camouflaged and near invisible.
Solitary animals which migrate to waters 40-120m deep where spawning takes place. Spawning occurs during the period of June
to August. In Scorpaenia plumieri the females are known as being oviparous i.e. they lay eggs, these eggs produced by the female are transparent or sometimes can have a green colour. Fertilized eggs float at the surface of the water. The maximum clutch size is 6000 eggs. Once the eggs are produced and fertilized it remains floating at the surface, the colour changes from
transparent to more white. The females do not remain to care for the offspring, the parents leave usually in August after spawning occurs to return to the shallow waters where they normally reside.