From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Weedy scorpionfish (Rhinopias frondosa) taken in Indonesia in 2008
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Scorpaeniformes
Family: Scorpaenidae
Subfamily: Scorpaeninae
Tribe: Scorpaenini
Genus: Rhinopias
T. N. Gill, 1905
Type species
Scorpaena frondosa

Rhinopias is a genus of marine ray-finned fish belonging to the family Scorpaenidae, the scorpionfishes. The species in this genus are found in the Indian and Pacific oceans.


Rhinopiaswas described as a genus in 1905 by the American ichthyologist Theodore Gill, Gill described it as a monotypic genus and designated Scorpaena frondosa as its type species.[1] Scorpaena frondosa had originally been described in 1893 by the German-born British zoologist Albert Günther with its type locality given as Mauritius.[2] The genus name is a combination of rhino meaning "snout" and op meaning "eye", an allusion to he upturned snout and raised orbits of R. frondosa with the suffix ias which is used in some Greek names for fishes, for example Xiphias.[3]


There are six recognized species in this genus as of 2022:[4]

Image Scientific name Distribution Common name
Rhinopias aphanes Eschmeyer, 1973 Western Pacific Laced scorpionfish
Rhinopias argoliba Eschmeyer, Hirosake & T. Abe, 1973 Sagami Bay, Japan and the Coral Sea Argoliba scorpionfish[5]
Rhinopias cea J. E. Randall & Disalvo, 1997 Easter Island Cea's Scorpionfish.
Rhinopias eschmeyeri Condé, 1977 Indo-West Pacific Eschmeyer's scorpionfish.
Rhinopias frondosa (Günther, 1892) Indo-West Pacific Weedy scorpionfish
Rhinopias xenops (C. H. Gilbert, 1905) Hawaii and the Kii Peninsula, Japan

There is some doubt as to whether R. eschmeyeri is a synonym of R. frondosa, with the two possibly being different sexes of a sexually dimorphic single species.[6]


Rhinopias scorpionfishes are distinguished by having 12 spines i their dorsal fins and 3 spines in their anal fins. Their pectoral fins contain 12-18 fin rays with the lower rays being thickened. The soft fin rays of the dorsal and anal fins, as well as the upper fin rays of the pectoral fins, are branched. In adults the head and body are highly compressed with the width of the head being less than that of the body. The body is also very deep, the depth being 38-54% of its standard length. The body has a covering of small cycloid scales. There are teeth on the palatine and there are no interorbital ridges or tympanic spines but they do have upper post-temporal spines.[7] These scorpionfishes vary in size from a maximum recorded total length of 15.3 cm (6.0 in) in R. xenops to 25 cm (9.8 in) in R. aphanes .[4]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Rhinopias scorpionfishes have an Indo-Pacific distribution from the coast of eastern Africa to Hawaii and Easter Island.[2] They are demersal fish, found in habitats with soft substrate and strong currents. They can occur in shallow waters down to around 300 m (980 ft).[8]


Rhinopias scorpionfishes are ambush predators that rest on the substrate waiting for crustaceans and smaller fishes to come within the range of their strike. These scorpionfish also frequently shed an outer layer of skin because they are so sedentary that exoparasites and algae can quickly aggregate on their skin, so to solve this issue, the scorpionfish will shed its outer layer of skin, referred to as the cuticle. Rhinopias scorpionfishes have venom in their fin spines.[9]


Rhinopias scorpionfishes command a high price in the aquarium trade.[10]


  1. ^ a b c Eschmeyer, William N.; Fricke, Ron & van der Laan, Richard (eds.). "Genera in the family Scorpaenidae". Catalog of Fishes. California Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  2. ^ a b Eschmeyer, William N.; Fricke, Ron & van der Laan, Richard (eds.). "Species in the genus Rhinopias". Catalog of Fishes. California Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  3. ^ Christopher Scharpf & Kenneth J. Lazara, eds. (2 October 2021). "Order Perciformes (Part 9): Suborder Scorpaenoidei: Family Scorpaenidae". The ETYFish Project Fish Name Etymology Database. Christopher Scharpf and Kenneth J. Lazara. Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  4. ^ a b Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2021). Species of Rhinopias in FishBase. August 2021 version.
  5. ^ Bray, D.J. (2021). "Rhinopias argoliba". Fishes of Australia. Museums Victoria. Retrieved 30 January 2022.||
  6. ^ Bray, D.J. (2018). "Rhinopias frondosa". Fishes of Australia. Museums Victoria. Retrieved 30 January 2022.
  7. ^ Motomura, Hiroyuki and Johnson, Jeff (2006). "Validity of the Poorly Known Scorpionfish, Rhinopias eschmeyeri, with Redescriptions of R. frondosa and R. aphanes (Scorpaeniformes: Scorpaenidae)". Copeia. 2006: 500–515. doi:10.1643/0045-8511(2006)2006[500:VOTPKS]2.0.CO;2.
  8. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2021). "Rhinopias frondosa" in FishBase. AugustA 2021 version.
  9. ^ Jeremy Gosnell (August 2010). "Rhinopias Scorpionfish". Tropical Fish Magazine. Retrieved 30 January 2022.
  10. ^ Michael, Scott (May 2003). "Aquarium Fish: The Rhinopias Spp. – The Ultimate Scorpionfishes". advancedaquarist.com.

External links[edit]