Highfin scorpionfish

Pontinus rathbuni

Family Scorpaenidae - scorpionfishes

Body elongate, somewhat compressed; color orange to red, golden or darker spots on lateral line and back; dorsal, anal and pectoral fins striped with lighter color; head armored, spiny, spines on cheek and preopercle, 1st (top) spine on preopercle longest; 3rd dorsal fin spine slightly elongate in all but the smallest fishes, but not more than 1/3 the length of the 2nd spine; rays in pectoral fins are unbranched, longest rays in the middle; fleshy projection behind each eye; dorsal spines with fleshy tabs at ends (easily worn off); 2 spines above both sides of upper lip, both point backwards.
Similar Species
Similar in appearance to the longspine scorpionfish, but the longspine's 3rd dorsal spine is about 2 times the length of the 2nd dorsal spine. Fleshy tabs behind eyes are small or absent, and there are no fleshy tabs on tips of dorsal spines. Of the 2 spines above both sides of the upper lip, the anteriormost one points forward instead of backward in the longspine. The spinycheek scorpionfish does not have an elongated 3rd dorsal fin spine and some of its pectoral rays are branched.
Gulf, soft of semi-hard substrate
Maximum Size
25 cm (10 in)
Fin Element Counts
D. XII, 8-10; A. III, 5 (explain)
Other Common Names
Previous Scientific Names
The dorsal spines are venomous. Handle with care.
State size/bag limits