March Sea Star: Rhinopias Scorpionfish

We’re excited to spotlight one of our new friends at the Butterfly House & Aquarium – rhinopias scorpionfish. This species’ scientific name is rhinopias eschmeyeri, and other common names include Eschmeyer’s scorpionfish and paddle-flap scorpionfish.

This fish is native to the Western Indo-Pacific on reefs and in rocky areas. He lacks a swim bladder, so he can’t float in the water like other fish, instead he “hops” and “crawls” along the bottom with modified pectoral fins.

Rhinopias scorpionfish is an ambush hunter, utilizing camouflage to hide in wait for prey before striking quickly. He can eat prey that is 2-3 times the size of his mouth, and he only needs to eat two times a week!

He’s also venomous, like all scorpionfish, and houses venom sacs along his back that are released through spines in his dorsal fin. Also, like other scorpionfish, he can shed the outer layer of his skin to get rid of pests and parasites.

Our scorpionfish lives in the Venomous exhibit alongside the Lionfish. You can usually see him hogging the spotlight and hopping along right in front of the window.