Leaf Scorpionfish (Taenianotus triacanthus)
1. The Leaf Scorpionfish (Taenianotus triacanthus) is a very pretty and colourful fish that is a very popular subject for photographers. It is also commonly referred to as the ‘Paperfish’.
2. This fish species has a widespread distribution and can be found in tropical waters ranging from the Indo-Pacific to east Africa and the Red Sea.
3. This species is monotypic genus meaning that it is the only species in the Taenianotus genus.
4. The Leaf Scorpionfish is a small compressed scorpion fish, with a high long sail like dorsal fin that is often lifted up. It has a variably developed 'beard' of fine appendages around the mouth and algae and hydroids can grow on its skin. It is known to shed its skin periodically.
5. The colouration of the Leaf Scorpionfish is variable, ranging from white, yellow, pink, red, brown and green.
6. The Leaf Scorpionfish is extremely good at camouflage and divers often do not notice it as it blends in so well with its background. It is generally found on coral reefs and can be sometimes found hiding in amongst corals and gorgonians.
7. In Australia small juveniles may drift down the eastern coast on the east Australian current and settle in estuaries and harbours. Juveniles have been observed in the Port Stephens estuary on the NSW central coast and have also been recorded in Sydney Harbour.
8. The individually in the above photo is a juvenile about 5cm in length. The maximum size for the Leaf Scorpionfish is approximately 25cm.
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