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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrata > fishes
False scorpionfish
Centrogenys vaigiensis

Family Centrogenyidae
updated Oct 2019

if you learn only 3 things about it ...
It is small and well camouflaged. Look carefully to find one.
This harmless fish is easily mistaken for a scorpionfish.
It hides among seaweeds and under stones. Watch your step!

Where seen? This small scorpionfish wannabe is commonly encountered on some of our shores, among coral rubble and seagrass areas.

What are false scorpionfishes? This species was previously placed in Family Serranidae (groupers) and now is the only member of the Family Centrogenyidae (false scorpionfishes). True scorpionfishes belong to the Family Scorpaenidae.

To about 15cm, but those seen usually about 4-10cm. Like scorpionfishes, the false scorpionfish has prickly dorsal spines that can poke inquisitive fingers. But false scorpionfishes lack true venom glands and simply cause wounds. Unlike scorpionfishes, the false scorpionfish does not have spines on its head. The nostrils have large fringed flaps, and the dorsal fin starts well behind the eyes. But in other respects, they are similar in habit and appearance.

Sometimes mistaken for stonefishes and scorpionfishes. Here's more on how to tell apart fishes that look like stones.

What does it eat? It eats small fishes, shrimps and crabs, hunting during the day.

Human uses: Sometimes harvested for the aquarium trade.

Changi, Jun 06

Dorsal fins start well behind the eyes.

It has nose flaps! No spines on the head

Sentosa, Oct 03

Chek Jawa, Jun 03

Sisters Island, Sep 10

False scorpionfishes on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Punggol, Sep 18
Photo shared by Dayna Cheah on facebook.

Kusu Island, Jun 15
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.

Pulau Jong, May 10
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on her blog.

Terumbu Pempang Kecil, Jan 15
Photo shared by Juria Toramae on facebook.

Terumbu Pempang Laut, Apr 11
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Raffles Lighthouse, Jul 06

Pulau Pawai, Dec 09

Pulau Pawai, Dec 09

Pulau Senang, Aug 10

Terumbu Bemban, Apr 11

false scorpion fish @tBembanBesar 22Apr2011 from SgBeachBum on Vimeo.



  • Allen, Gerry, 2000. Marine Fishes of South-East Asia: A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Periplus Editions. 292 pp.
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