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Parapterois heterura, blackfoot firefish
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Scorpaeniformes
Family: Scorpaenidae
Subfamily: Pteroinae
Genus: Parapterois
Bleeker, 1876
Type species
Pterois heterura
Bleeker, 1856

Parapterois is a genus of venomous fish in the scorpionfish family.[1] These fish originate from marine environments in the Indian Ocean or near it. The venomous Parapterois heterura is occasionally seen as an aquarium fish.


There are currently two recognized species in this genus:[1]

Anatomy and appearance[edit]

Parapterois heterura resting on the substrate

Parapterois bodies are red and white, and their pectoral fins are expanded. These fish are venomous. However, most specimens are much smaller; larger adults of both species are about 11 centimetres (4 in) in length.[2]

A number of differences set this genus apart from Pterois, in which P. heterura was first described to. Parapterois have more (18-21) pectoral fin rays than Pterois (12-17), and, in the former, these rays may be branched, while they are never branched in Pterois. Parapterois have two anal fin spines, while Pterois have three. Also, as a more obvious trait, the caudal fin of these fish are truncated with longer upper and lower caudal fin rays, while the caudal fin in Pterois is rounded.[2]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Parapterois heterura showing the inner surface of its pectoral fins.

Parapterois are native to the Indian Ocean and the West Pacific Ocean.

In the aquarium[edit]

Despite the popularity of other lionfish, Parapterois species are only rarely found in the aquarium trade.[3] P. heterura can be found on certain online marine aquarium fish stores, but is not common.


  1. ^ a b Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2012). Species of Parapterois in FishBase. December 2012 version.
  2. ^ a b Motomura, Hiroyuki (2004). "Morphological Comparison of a Poorly Known Scorpionfish, Parapterois macrura, with a Related Species, P. heterura (Scorpaenidae: Pteroinae)" (PDF). Zoological Studies. 43: 1–7. 
  3. ^ Fenner, Bob. "The Scorpionfishes We Call Lions, Family Scorpaenidae, subfamily Pteroinae". Retrieved 2007-04-09.