|Scorpaenidae: Pterois antennata|
Greenwood et al., 1966
They are known as "mail-cheeked" fishes due to their distinguishing characteristic, the suborbital stay: a backwards extension of the third circumorbital bone (part of the lateral head/cheek skeleton, below the eye socket) across the cheek to the preoperculum, to which it is connected in most species.
Scorpaeniform fishes are carnivorous, mostly feeding on crustaceans and on smaller fish. Most species live on the sea bottom in relatively shallow waters, although species are known from deep water, from the midwater, and even from fresh water. They typically have spiny heads, and rounded pectoral and caudal fins. Most species are less than 30 cm (12 in) in length, but the full size range of the order varies from the velvetfishes, which can be just 2 cm (0.79 in) long as adults, to the lingcod, which can reach 150 cm (4.9 ft) in length.
- Suborder Anoplopomatoidei
- Suborder Cottoidei
- Superfamily Cottoidea
- Abyssocottidae (deep-water sculpins)
- Agonidae (poachers)
- Comephoridae (Baikal oilfishes)
- Cottocomephoridae (Baikal sculpins)
- Ereuniidae (deepwater bullhead sculpins)
- Hemitripteridae (sea ravens)
- Icelidae (scaled sculpins)[a]
- Psychrolutidae (fathead sculpins)
- Rhamphocottidae (grunt sculpin)
- Superfamily Cyclopteroidea
- Superfamily Cottoidea
- Suborder Dactylopteroidei
- Dactylopteridae (flying gurnards)
- Suborder Hexagrammoidei
- Hexagrammidae (greenlings)
- Suborder Normanichthyiodei
- Normanichthyidae (mote sculpin)
- Suborder Platycephaloidei
- Suborder Scorpaenoidei
- Apistidae[c] (wasp scorpionfishes)
- Aploactinidae (velvetfishes)
- Caracanthidae (orbicular velvetfishes)
- Congiopodidae (horsefishes and pigfishes)
- Gnathanacanthidae (red velvetfish)
- Neosebastidae[c] (gurnard scorpionfishes)
- Pataecidae (Australian prowfishes)
- Perryenidae (Whitenose pigfish)
- Scorpaenidae (scorpionfishes)
- Sebastidae (sea perches)[c]
- Setarchidae[c] (deep-sea bristly scorpionfishes)
- Synanceiidae (including the stonefishes)
- Tetrarogidae (waspfishes)[c]
- Triglidae (searobins)
Timeline of genera
- Icelidae is described as a separate family by some sources , containing only the genus Icelus. However, this genus which is considered to be a member of Cottidae by most other sources 
- Parabembridae is included in Bembridae in ITIS and Nelson, but split in FishBase and Eschmeyer.
- Apistidae, Neosebastidae, Plectrogenidae, Sebastidae, and Setarchidae are included in Scorpaenidae in ITIS and Nelson, but split in FishBase and Eschmeyer.
- Eschmeyer, William N. (1998). Paxton, J.R.; Eschmeyer, W.N., eds. Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. p. 175. ISBN 0-12-547665-5.
- Joseph S. Nelson. Fishes of the World. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0-471-54713-1.
- "Scorpaeniformes". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 31 March 2006.
- William N. Eschmeyer; Carl J. Ferraris; Mysi D. Hoang; Douglas J. Long (1998). Catalog of Fishes. California Academy of Sciences. ISBN 0-940228-47-5.
- Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2006). "Scorpaeniformes" in FishBase. February 2006 version.
- WoRMS (1883). Nicolas Bailly, eds. "Peristediidae Jordan & Gilbert, 1883". FishBase. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2015-04-24.
- Honma, Y., Imamura, H. & Kawai, T. (2013): Anatomical description of the genus Perryena, and proposal to erect a new family for it based on its phylogenetic relationships with related taxa (Scorpaeniformes). Ichthyological Research, DOI 10-1007/s10228-012-0321-z
- Sepkoski, Jack (2002). "A compendium of fossil marine animal genera". Bulletins of American Paleontology. 364: 560. Retrieved 2011-05-17.