Madeira Rockfish – Scorpaena maderensis
The Madeira Rockfish is a species in the suborder of the Scorpaeniformes and thus belongs to the superclass of bony fish. Scorpaena maderensis was first described in 1877 by Valenciennes.
Description, Anatomy & Characteristics
The Madeira Rockfish usually has a red-white colouration. Sometimes it has real white stripes, but sometimes only a red and white spotted mess. In addition, brown and orange tones are possible too.
The main distinguishing feature to other scorpionfish are white processes on the chin and lower flanks. However, Scorpaena maderensis has no skin flaps.
Its head is big with thick lips. The pectoral fins are noticeably large.
It reaches a maximum size of 14cm, whereby males are usually slightly larger than females.
Habitat & Distribution
The Madeira Rockfish lives on solid ground, in depths of 5 to 40m.
When scuba diving in the Canary Islands it is very common. Scorpaena Maderensis is the most abundant scorpionfish in the region.
Its common range extends along the Mediterranean Sea, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Cape Verde and along the African coast from Morocco to the West Sahara. There are also unconfirmed sightings in Senegal and the Gulf of Guinea.
Biology & Diet
Scorpaena maderensis is a ground dweller. It actually only moves, if it has to.
Its diet consists of small fish and crustaceans. When hunting, it trusts in his camouflage. It lurks until a corresponding prey animal gets close enough to strike at lightning speed. By the jerky opening of the mouth, the prey is practically sucked.
In back, as well as in anal and pectoral fins, it has hard rays with venom glands. However, the Madeira Rockfish does not actively use this. They are for the defense only. The venom gland is covered with a fine skin that, when it breaks, releases the poison.
Scorpaena maderensis is one of the species that fluoresces.