Hellenica World

Rhinopias frondosa

Rhinopias frondosa (*)

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Osteichthyes
Classis: Actinopterygii
Subclassis: Neopterygii
Infraclassis: Teleostei
Superordo: Acanthopterygii
Ordo: Scorpaeniformes
Subordo: Scorpaenoidei
Familia: Scorpaenidae
Genus: Rhinopias
Species: Rhinopias frondosa

The weedy scorpionfish, sometimes also known as the popeyed scorpionfish, Rhinopias frondosa, is a carnivorous ray-finned fish with venomous spines that lives in the Indian and Western Pacific oceans, from Japan to Australia and from South Africa to the Caroline Islands. They are found in depths ranging from 13 to 90 meters.[1]

Appearance and habitat

The weedy scorpionfish has a highly compressed body, can reach a maximum length of 23 cm, and can vary considerably in color as well as appendages depending on its environment. Specimens found in rocky, algae rich waters are covered in weed-like appendages, whereas specimens found in deeper soft-bottomed waters with soft corals and sponges have fewer appendages.[1] Color can range vastly from dark red and purple to yellow and lavender. The variations differ so vastly that the specimens are often misidentified. Further complicating identification, there is currently disagreement over the species Rhinopias eschmeyeri, which some experts consider not a valid species, but a variant of R. frondosa.
Weedy scorpionfish with more appendages and red in color. Variation is considerable compared to the smooth lavender specimen shown in the taxobox. (Note: The reference sites claim varieties are dependent on habitat, however, the two specimens pictured here were taken a short distance from each other during the same dive, indicating that variation may not necessarily be limited to the environment in which they inhabit.)

Diet and behaviour

Like most Scorpaenidae, weedy scorpionfish are mostly nocturnal ambush hunters, using their camouflage to prey on unsuspecting fish and invertebrates. They rarely swim, but rather move along the bottom propelling themselves with their fins. [2]

Captivity

The weedy scorpionfish has no commercial value for fisheries, but commands a high price in the aquarium trade. Although they can be found in the U.S. and Europe, they are mostly exported to Japan where they fetch a very high price. Rhinopias are highly sought after by aquarists who collect rare and unusual species.
This weedy scorpionfish was found on the sandy bottom of a famous dive site named Ho-Mei located at north shore of Long-Dong Bay, northeast coast Taiwan. In the summer of 2010, several weedy scorpionfish with various of color and size were found by local divers in Ho-Mei area. Finding weedy scorpionfish became a significant event to local Taiwanese diving community in 2010.

References

1. ^ a b Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2008). "Rhinopias frondosa" in FishBase. January 2008 version.
2. ^ Aquarium Fish

* "Rhinopias frondosa". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=166902. Retrieved 10 January 2008.
* Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2008). "Rhinopias frondosa" in FishBase. January 2008 version.
* http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/may2003/Fish.htm

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