Taenianotus triacanthus is a species of marine fish which is the sole member of the genus Taenianotus. It is commonly known as the leaf scorpionfish or paperfish.
The leaf scorpionfish is about 10 cm (4 in) long. The color of this fish varies from green, red, pink, brown, ocher and yellowish to a ghostly white. The fish is almost as flat as a leaf and resembles a leaf in many other ways. The head and mouth are large. Through their eyes there is a dark line. The large dorsal fin starts just behind the eyes and has 12 spines and 8 to 11 soft rays. The anal fin has 3 spines and 5 to 6 soft rays. The venom of the leaf fish is considerably weaker than that of the lionfish and stonefish. The skin often has blotches that enhance a camouflage effect. This fish has appendages around the mouth, and sometimes real algae and hydroids grow on its skin.
The leaf fish resembles a dead leaf lying in the water. To enhance this camouflage it even makes gentle sideways movements in its pelvic area which make it resemble a drifting inert object. It is an ambush predator, waiting until a suitable prey, a small fish or shrimp approaches. Then it slowly moves with its pectoral fins close to the victim. When the leaf fish is close enough, the prey is sucked in by a sudden opening of its mouth. It eats victims up to half its body length but larger animals are completely ignored.
Distribution and habitat
Taenianotus triacanthus is widespread from east African coast and the Red Sea to the tropical Indo-Pacific, up to the Galapagos Islands, the Ryukyu Islands, Hawaii and the coast of New South Wales. This species can be found in tropical waters on coral reefs, from shallow water to a depth of 130 meters.
- "Taenianotus triacanthus Lacepède, 1802: Leaf scorpionfish". FishBase. Retrieved 2013-12-20.
- "Eight interesting facts about the Leaf Scorpionfish". Retrieved 2010-04-28.
- Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2007). Species of Taenianotus in FishBase. Mar 2007 version.
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2007). "Taenianotus triacanthus" in FishBase. Mar 2007 version.
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