The Scorpaenidae family are also known as Scorpionfish. This family of mostly soil-dwelling species consists of 26 genera and about 223 species. The best-known species of this genus, however, is not a bottom dweller, Pterois volitans or the Red Lionfish floats through the water.


The Scorpaenidae family is subdivided into three subfamilies:

ScorpaeninaeScorpionfishes and lionfishes.

Hoplosebastes Pogonoscorpius Scorpaenodes
Iracundus Pontinus Scorpaenopsis
Idiastion Pteroidichthys Sebastapistes
Neomerinthe Pteropelor Taenianotus
Parascorpaena Rhinopias Thysanichthys
Phenacoscorpius Scorpaena

Sebastolobinae – Rockfishes:





The members of the family Scorpaenidae are common in the tropical and subtropical regions. However, most species and numbers are found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans and the seas in between.

They usually live in shallow areas between rocks and corals, but there are also known species that occur at depths of 2200 meters.


Scorpaenidae are all carnivores. They feed on invertebrates and small fish. They lie on the bottom waiting for prey and corner them. The protrusion of the large mouth and the distension of the abdomen create a suction effect and the prey is sucked in and swallowed.


Some species are very well camouflaged and are almost impossible to find as long as they don’t move. Others are brightly colored to indicate that a hunter should not eat them.

The dorsal fin has 11 to 17 fin rays. These are often long, hard and clearly visible from each other. The pectoral fins are well developed and clearly visible and contain 11 to 25 fin rays.


Scorpaenidae are among the most venomous fish on Earth. And in particular the subfamily Sebastolobinae. The other two subfamilies have spines on which a poisonous slime is located. This sting from this is painful and needs to be treated. However, the sting of one of the members of the Sebastolobinae subfamily can be fatal.

The anterior fin rays of the dorsal, ventral and anal fins are equipped with a venom gland. This is located at the base of the fin ray. This fin ray is hollow and hard. The tip of the fin ray is sharp and acts like a hypodermic needle. If you step on a fish of this family or if it is eaten, the skin around the fin ray is compressed. With this, the skin presses on the venom gland, which injects the venom through the fin ray.

Treatment of the Scorpaenidae sting

The venom of Scorpaenidae is usually not lethal to humans, but it is very painful. Immediate treatment works better than first visiting a doctor. We do, of course, advise you to call for help immediately.

Symptoms of a sting:

  • severe pain (immediate)
  • nausea
  • vomitting
  • swelling
  • shock

Doctors treat the sting in something like this: Place the stung area in hot water with a temperature of 43 to 45 degrees Celsius as soon as possible. If it is too cold, the poison will not break down, too hot and you will burn, so pay close attention to the temperature! Do this for 30 to 90 minutes until the pain is gone. If the pain returns repeat immediately.

After the pain is gone, the wound should be cleaned well. Remove any remnants of the spine and disinfect the wound to prevent infection. Keep a close eye on the wound, if it turns red after a few days or you get a fever and a throbbing feeling, the wound is inflamed. Then go back to the doctor for a course of antibiotics!

!!! Important, always seek medical attention and make sure you have been stung by a member of the Scorpaenidae family and not a member of the Synanceiidae family or a stonefish. That sting can be deadly.

Below are the genera within the Scorpaenidae family in our database: