Sculpin Scorpionfish, Scorpaenopsis cotticeps Fowler 1938

A Sculpin Scorpionfish, Scorpaenopsis cotticeps, in Izu Ocean Park, Japan. Source: Izuzuki / License: CC BY Attribution-ShareAlike

A mottled reddish-brown scorpionfish, often with a broad pale bar on the body behind the soft dorsal and anal fins, and sometimes a pale 'saddle' on the back below the middle of the dorsal fin.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Scorpaenopsis cotticeps in Fishes of Australia, accessed 03 Oct 2023,

Sculpin Scorpionfish, Scorpaenopsis cotticeps Fowler 1938

More Info


Southeast of Ashmore Reef, Western Australia, and the Great Barrier Reef to off Moreton Bay, Queensland. Elsewhere the species occurs in the Indo-west Pacific.
Inhabits rubble and sandy/rubble areas on shallow coral reefs.


Dorsal fin XII, 9; Anal fin III, 5; Vertebrae 24; Vertical scale rows 33-37; Predorsal scales 4.
Head profile blunt, eye protruding slightly above dorsal profile of head,; lachrymal with 2 spines overlying maxillary (1st spine directed forward and 2nd spine backward), broad postocular and tympanic spines; many small papillae on head. Interorbital ridges elevated posteriorly to join tip of tympanic spines; base of parietal spines not curving into occipital pit; first dorsal spine 1.6-1.9 in second spine.

Species Citation

Scorpaenopsis cotticeps Fowler 1938, Proc. U. S. Natl Mus. 85(3032): 65, fig. 27. Type locality: off Tinakta Island, Tawi Tawi Islands, Sulu Archipelago, 10 fathoms [5°11´50"N, 119°54´E].


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Sculpin Scorpionfish, Scorpaenopsis cotticeps Fowler 1938


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

Fowler, H.W. 1938. Descriptions of new fishes obtained by the United States Bureau of Fisheries Steamer Albatross, chiefly in Philippine seas and adjacent waters. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 85(3032): 31-135 figs 6-61 

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) 

Motomura, H., Yoshino, Y. & 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. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 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. & 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:37287106

Danger:Venomous spines

Depth:15–70 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:7.5 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map