Spotted scorpionfish

Scorpaena plumieri

Family Scorpaenidae - scorpionfishes

Body elongate, somewhat compressed; head with many spines and ridges, spiny hard ridge below eye (suborbital stay) to preopercle with 3-4 spines, only 2 spines in specimens <5 cm (2 in); preorbital with spines, 1st (top) spine longest; color variable, mottled brown or black; 3 dark vertical bars on caudal fin, bar at fin base forked at bottom; caudal peduncle pale, distinctly marked off; dark blotch under spiny part of dorsal fin and under rayed portion; belly light-colored; axil of pectoral fin back with white or yellow blotches in specimens >3 cm (1 in); distinct depression (occipital pit) on head above eyes, flanked by spines.
Similar Species
This is the only species of scorpionfishes that has white or yellow blotches on a black background in the axil of the pectoral fin. The 3 bars on the caudal fin is also a distinguishing characteristic.
Gulf, usually around coral reefs or rocky areas
Maximum Size
45 cm (17 1/2 in), common to 30 cm (12 in)
Fin Element Counts
D. XII,9; A.III,5 (explain)
Other Common Names
Previous Scientific Names
State size/bag limits