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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrata > fishes > Family Scorpaenidae
False stonefish
Scorpaenopsis diabolus
Family Scorpaenidae
updated Oct 2020
Where seen? This rock-like fish is seldom seen, usually our southern shores on coral rubble areas near reefs or rocky shores.

Features: 15-30cm long with a humped back. Small eyes that don't stick out of the head, with small shallow depression near the eyes, not as large and deep as the true Hollow-cheeked stonefish (Synanceia horrida). Wide horizontal mouth on a large rather flattened head. Large pectoral fins sometimes colourful. Spiky dorsal fin which carries venomous stings but it is not as dangerous as the real stonefish. When disturbed, it waddles away awkwardly on its pectoral fins.

Sometimes mistaken for a stonefish (Family Synanceiidae) or the False scorpionfish (Centrogenys vaigiensis), a grouper, which looks very similar. Here's more on how to tell apart fishes that look like stones.

Pulau Semakau, Aug 14
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on flickr.

Kusu Island, Sep 19
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

Lazarus Island, Aug 12

Shallow depression near the eye.
False stonefish (Scorpaenopsis diabolus)

False stonefishes on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Small Sisters Island, Aug 20
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on facebook.
  • Allen, Gerry, 2000. Marine Fishes of South-East Asia: A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Periplus Editions. 292 pp.
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