Scorpion fish vs Stone fish; do you know the difference?

In December, the group of C.M.E.R.A. Marine Education came to Coco for a couple of days diving or snorkeling with Rich Coast Diving. All the students went on a snorkel or dive trip in the morning, and in the afternoon there were lectures about the interesting marine life. One topic of the lecture was about the stone fish and the scorpion fish. They look really similar but there are some difference. Have you ever seen one of those fish while you were diving? Do you know the difference between those fish?

Scorpion fish and stone fish are perhaps the most commonly confused fish on the reef. The number of divers that have really seen a stone fish, as far less than those who have seen a scorpion fish. Scorpion fish and stone fish belong to the same marine order, scorpaeniformes. Those two fish are really hard to spot because the stone fish is a master of disguise and deception (it looks like a rock covered in sand), while scorpion fish can change their color to better match with their surroundings. They have one big thing in common: They possess venomous spines on their dorsal fins that can infect painful wounds. Some say it is the most dangerous fish in the ocean!

Those little difference will help you with identify the right fish:

1.The shape

If you look at a stone fish from above, it is kind of round like a stone, while a scorpion fish still have the shape of a fish.

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2. The eyes
The eyes of a scorpion fish are a bit further of his body, standing on something like ‘stalks’ made of a bone. It has the color of a stone. The eyes of a stone fish are in his skull, very small and hard to notice

3.The shape of the Mouth
Stone fish has a more grumpy face if you compare it with the happy face of the scorpion fish. The scorpionfish mouth sits forward on a more distinct jaw while a stonefish has a grumpy upturned mouth.

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Fin and Spines
The stone fish’s back fin is bigger and the spines thicker.

5. Venom
The stone fish’s venom is more dangerous than the venom of the scorpion fish. It can kill people. However, the stone fish is pretty shy and non-aggressive so if you don’t provoke it, it will be not dangerous.

6.Tail
The stone fish curl his tail extremely to one side, while a scorpion fish doesn’t.

Venemous fish are rarely aggressive and usually contact is made by accidentally stepping or handling the fish. The stone fish is the worlds most venomous fish. Their near perfect camouflage and the venomous spines make them a hazard for snorkelers and divers in shallow water. Wounds should be treated immediately. Wash the wound with cold salt water. The next step is to soak the wound in hot water for 30 to 90 minutes. Heat may break down the venom. The water should be as hot as the victim can tolerate. After those steps, visit the doctor for some anti venom.

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5 thoughts on “Scorpion fish vs Stone fish; do you know the difference?

  1. we found in cozumel two scorpion fish in a lip lock , what were they doing? 12/20/2015
    bill by the way cozumel reefs look great alive and hardly any lion fish

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