About This Fish

Red Rock Cod

The red rock cod (Scorpaena papillosa) is a marine ray finned fish which belongs to the family Scorpaenidae under Order Scorpaeniformes of Class Actinopterygii. It is also known as Chained scorpionfish, Common red gurnard, Common red rock cod, Dwarf scorpionfish, Red scorpionfish, Southern red scorpioncod, Southern red scorpionfish, Southern rockcod etc. It is found in the Indo-West Pacific, in New Zealand and southern Australia. It lives in marine demersal temperate waters at depths of 5–50 meters. It is found on rocky bottoms in shallow estuaries, in muddy waters as well as other environments such as in offshore kelp beds and shallow seagrass beds. Juveniles are sometimes found in large rock pools. It is a small to medium-sized bottom-dwelling fish.

The rock cod's body is mottled reddish to reddish-brown with darker blotches and whitish patches. A black spot is present on the dorsal fin. Head and body are covered with scales. A white band is present behind the eyes and on the tail base. Dorsal fin is divided into spinous and soft part by a single notch, of which, spinous part has 12 spines while soft part contains 9-10 soft rays. Anal fin contains 3 spines and 5 soft rays. Gill cover margin has 3 spines and 3 or more spines are present along the bony ridge beneath the eye. Mouth is large with small thin villiform teeth. This fish feeds on many different invertebrates, including crustaceans and other fish. Venom gland is present in dorsal, anal and pelvic fin spines. The species grows to about 30 cm in length.

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