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fishes | Family Synanceiidae | Family Scorpaenidae | Family Batrachoididae | Family Serranidae
Fishes that look like stones
How to tell them apart?
updated Sep 2020

Stoned Several different kinds of fishes resemble algae-covered stones and rubble on the shores. Some are dangerous, others are harmless. Here's more on how to tell them apart.

Family Batrachoididae
Parascorpaena picta
Family Scorpaenidae
Synanceia horrida
Family Synanceiidae
Not dangerous.
But has prickly spines that poke
Toxic stings are painful
Highly dangerous
Toxic stings can be fatal.
Spiny dorsal fins. Spiny dorsal fins. Stout dorsal spines.
Medium eyes, not protruding. Large bulbous eyes,
protruding out of the head.
Tiny eyes with a bony bridge between the eyes.
Mouth horizontal. Mouth horizontal. Downturned mouth in a frown.

False scorpionfish
Centrogenys vaigiensis
Family Serranidae
Longspined scorpionfish
Paracentropogon longispinis
Family Scorpaenidae
False stonefish
Scorpaenopsis diabolus
Family Scorpaenidae
Not dangerous.
Has prickles that may wound but no toxins.
Toxic stings are painful
Toxic stings are painful
Dorsal fin begins well behind the eyes. Dorsal fin begins above the eyes. Small eyes, mouth horizontal.
No spines next to the mouth. A pair of spines next to the mouth.  
Nose flaps. No nose flaps.  

More comparisons

Painted scorpionfish (lower) next to
False scorpionfish (upper).

The Pufferfish sometimes lies quietly among stones. It is not venomous (does not sting),
but is poisonous (will kill if you eat it).

The well camouflaged Frogfish
is harmless.

The harmless Frogfish sometimes resembles a black sponge.
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