Papua Scorpionfish, Scorpaenopsis papuensis (Cuvier 1829)

Other Names: Papuan Scorpionfish

A Papua Scorpionfish, Scorpaenopsis papuensis, at Madang, Papua New Guinea. Source: Jan Messersmith / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A well-camouflaged scorpionfish with a dark purplish blotch on the rear of the spinous dorsal fin. Juveniles have large, forward pointing tentacles above the eyes.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Scorpaenopsis papuensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 26 Nov 2022,

Papua Scorpionfish, Scorpaenopsis papuensis (Cuvier 1829)

More Info


Houtman Abrolhos to NW of Port Hedland, Western Australia, Cartier Reef, Timor Sea, and off the far northern Great Barrier Reef to Holmes Reef in the Coral Sea; also at Middleton Reef in the Lord Howe Island region in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the western-central Pacific - from Indonesia to French Polynesia, north to the Ryukyu Islands, Japan, south to the Great Barrier Reef  and New Caledonia.
Inhabits coral and rocky reefs, and also occurs in estuaries, lagoons and on inshore on sandy coastal slopes in depths to 40 m.


Dorsal fin XII, 9; Anal fin III, 5. Snout length > orbit diameter.s (Ref. 48635). Space on opercle between opercular spines scaled; penultimate dorsal spine 1.9-2.2 in length of last spine; reaches 195 mm SL 

Similar Species

Scorpaenopsis papuensis differs from Scorpaenopsis venosa in having a flattened papuensis area behind the eyes), compared with the very deep occipital pit of Scorpaenopsis venosa

Species Citation

Scorpaena papuensis Cuvier in Cuvier & Valenciennes 182,. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons 4: 321. Type locality: New Guinea.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Papua Scorpionfish, Scorpaenopsis papuensis (Cuvier 1829)


Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Cuvier, G.L. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1829. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 4 518 pp. pls 72-99. 

Fricke, R., Kulbicki, M. & Wantiez, L. 2011. Checklist of the fishes of New Caledonia, and their distribution in the Southwest Pacific Ocean (Pisces). Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde. Serie A (Biologie) Neue Serie 4: 341-463 

Motomura, H., Béarez, P. & Causse, R. 2011. Review of Indo-Pacific specimens of the subfamily Scorpaeninae (Scorpaenidae), deposited in the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris, with description of a new species of Neomerinthe. Cybium 33(1): 55-73 

Motomura, H. & Matsuura, K. 2016. Scorpaenopsis papuensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T69919036A70009990. Downloaded on 03 October 2018.

Motomura, H., Yoshino, T. & Takamura, N. 2004. Review of the scorpionfish genus Scorpaenopsis (Scorpaeniformes: Scorpaenidae) in Japanese waters with three new records and an assessment of standard Japanese names. AGRIS 51(2): 89-115.

Poss, S.G. 1999. Families Scorpaenidae, Caracanthidae, Aploactinidae. pp. 2291-2358 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 4 pp. 2069-2790. 

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs. 

Randall, J.E. & Eschmeyer, W.N. 2001. Revision of the Indo-Pacific scorpionfish genus Scorpaenopsis, with descriptions of eight new species. Indo-Pacific Fishes 34: 1-79

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37287107

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Danger:Venomous spines

Depth:0-42 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:25 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map