Blackbelly rosefish

Helicolenus dactylopterus

Family Scorpaenidae - scorpionfishes

Body elongate, somewhat compressed; color reddish to orange with darker mottling marks on back in larger fish; reddish vertical bands in smaller fish, 3 anteriorly, V-shape under soft dorsal fin, 1 band at base of caudal fin; small fish with black spot near end of spinous dorsal fin; head spiny; spiny ridge under eye (suborbital stay); preopercle with several spines, the 2nd 1 from the top longest; pectoral fin large, fan-like, tips of lower rays free, upper rays nearly same length.
Similar Species
The blackbelly rosefish differs from other scorpionfish by having the 2nd spine from the top of the preopercle longest (1st longest in others) and having a squared-off pectoral fin (wedge-shaped with middle rays longest in others).
Gulf, soft bottoms in deeper waters
Maximum Size
47 cm (18 1/2 in), common to 25 cm (10 in)
Fin Element Counts
D. XII,11-13; A. III,4-6 (explain)
Other Common Names
Previous Scientific Names
State size/bag limits